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FOLLOWING  THE 
EQUATOR 


Protecting  the  Ladies 


AUTHORIZED    EDITION 

The  Complete  Works  of 

MARK 
TWAIN 


o     u     u     u     u     u     o 


ouoooooooooooooo 


FOLLOWING  THE 
EQ^UATOR 


o     o    o     o     o     o    o        \(|/(.-^"t|.^>N--  yf/        oooooooo 


HARPER    AND    BROTHERS 
NEW    YORK 


Following  the  Equator.    Vol.  I 


Copyright,  1897  and  1899,  by  Olivia  L.  Clemens 
Copyright,  1925,  by  Clara  Gabrilowitsch 


Printed  in  the  United  States  of  America 

ID 


CONTENTS 


CHAP  PACK 

I.  We  Sail  with  a  Sweet  Captain i 

II.  What  Did  Poor  Brown  Do? 12 

III.  Honolulu  the  Beautiful       27 

IV.  I  Lose  at  "Horse  Billiards" 44 

V.  "Recruiting"  Laborers — or  Slavery?  ....  56 

VI.  How  Queensland  Exterminates  Kanakas      .     .  63 

VII.  We  Pity  the  Exploited  Fijians 72 

VIII.  Great  Speed  of  the  Moa  Bird 80 

IX.  Weird,  New,  Startling  Australia 89 

X.  Some  Barbarous  English  Laws loi 

XL  Sydney — English  with  American  Trimmings       .  107 

XIL  Hanuman  Stronger  than  Samson 114 

XIII.  What  Cecil  Rhodes  Found  in  a  Shark     .    .     .  118 

XIV.  Astounding  Intercolonial  Jealousy      .    .    .    .  131 

XV.  Wagga-Wagga  and  the  Tichborne  Claimant    .  137 

XVI.  Melbourne  Cup  Day,   Greatest  of  the  Year  143 

XVII.  Australia's  Enormous  Trade 151 

XVIII.  Where  All  Religions  Flourish 158 

XIX.  What  the  Laughing  Jackass  is  Good  For     .     .  167 

XX.  An  Intermezzo  in  a  Fox-hunt 175 

XXI.  Arsenic  Pudding  for  Savages 183 

XXII.  Magic  of  the  Aboriginals 193 

XXIII.  The  Driest  Country  in  the  World      ....  203 

XXIV.  Ballarat  English  Undefiled 211 

XXV.  The  Amazing  Mark  Twain  Club 220 

XXVI.  What  New  Zealand  Really  Is 232 

XXVII.  Robinson  the  Conciliator 238 


CONTENTS 

CHAP.  PAGE 

XXVIII.  The  Joke  that  Made  Ed's  Fortune    ....  250 

XXIX.  HoBART  IS  the  Neatest  Town 260 

XXX.  Nature's  Cruelty  to  the  Wooden  Caterpillar  268 

XXXI.  "A  Hell  of  a  Hotel  at  Maryborough"     .     .  274 

XXXII.  How  Women  Help  Rule  New  Zealand    .    .     .  282 

XXXIII.  The  Carlsbad  of  Australasia 291 

XXXIV.  I  Send  an  Error  by  Telepathy  .....  298 

XXXV.  The  Maoris,  Patriots  and  Warriors    ....  303 

XXXVI.  The  Poetry  of  Native  Names 310 


FOLLOWING 
THE  EQUATOR 

CHAPTER  I, 

WE  SAIL  WITH  A   SWEET  CAPTAIN 

A  man  may  have  no  bad  habits  and  have  worse. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calender. 

THE  starting-point  of  this  lecturing-trip  around 
the  world  was  Paris,  where  we  had  been  living 
a  year  or  two. 

We  sailed  for  America,  and  there  made  certain 
preparations.  This  took  but  Httle  time.  Two  mem- 
bers of  my  family  elected  to  go  with  me.  Also  a 
carbimcle.  The.  dictionary  says  a  carbuncle  is  a 
kind  of  jewel.  Humor  is  out  of  place  in  a  dic- 
tionary. 

We  started  westward  from  New  York  in  mid- 
summer, with  Major  Pond  to  manage  the  platform- 
business  as  far  as  the  Pacific.  It  was  warm  work, 
all  the  way,  and  the  last  fortnight  of  it  was  suffo- 
catingly smoky,  for  in  Oregon  and  British  Columbia 
the  forest  fires  were  raging.  We  had  an  added 
week  of  smoke  at  the  seaboard,  where  we  were 
obliged  to  wait  awhile  for  our  ship.  She  had  been 
getting  herself  ashore  in  the  smoke,  and  she  had  to 


MARK     TWAIN 

be  docked  and  repaired.  We  sailed  at  last;  and  so 
ended  a  snail-paced  march  across  the  continent, 
which  had  lasted  forty  days. 

We  moved  westward  about  mid-afternoon  over  a 
rippled  and  sparkling  summer  sea;  an  enticing  sea, 
a  clean  and  cool  sea,  and  apparently  a  welcome  sea 
to  all  on  board;  it  certainly  was  to  me,  after  the 
distressful  dustings  and  smokings  and  swelterings  of 
the  past  weeks.  The  voyage  would  furnish  a  three- 
weeks  holiday,  with  hardly  a  break  in  it.  We  had 
the  whole  Pacific  Ocean  in  front  of  us,  with  nothing 
to  do  but  do  nothing  and  be  comfortable.  The  city 
of  Victoria  was  twinkling  dim  in  the  deep  heart  of 
her  smoke-cloud,  and  getting  ready  to  vanish;  and 
now  we  closed  the  field-glasses  and  sat  down  on  our 
steamer-chairs  contented  and  at  peace.  But  they 
went  to  wreck  and  ruin  under  us  and  brought  us  to 
shame  before  all  the  passengers.  They  had  been 
furnished  by  the  largest  furniture-dealing  house  in 
Victoria,  and  were  worth  a  couple  of  farthings  a 
dozen,  though  they  had  cost  us  the  price  of  honest 
chairs.  In  the  Pacific  and  Indian  Oceans  one  must 
still  bring  his  own  deck-chair  on  board  or  go  with- 
out, just  as  in  the  old  forgotten  Atlantic  times — 
those  Dark  Ages  of  sea  travel. 

Ours  was  a  reasonably  comfortable  ship,  with  the 
customary  sea-going  fare — plenty  of  good  food 
furnished  by  the  Deity  and  cooked  by  the  devil. 
The  discipline  observable  on  board  was  perhaps  as 
good  as  it  is  anywhere  in  the  Pacific  and  Indian 
Oceans.  The  ship  was  not  very  well  arranged  for 
tropical  service;   but  that  is  nothing,  for  this  is  the 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

rule  for  ships  which  ply  in  the  tropics.  She  had  an 
over-supply  of  cockroaches,  but  this  is  also  the  rule 
with  ships  doing  business  in  the  summer  seas — at 
least  such  as  have  been  long  in  service. 

Our  young  captain  was  a  very  handsome  man, 
tall  and  perfectly  formed,  the  very  figure  to  show 
up  a  smart  uniform's  finest  effects.  He  was  a  man 
of  the  best  intentions,  and  was.  polite  and  courteous 
even  to  courtliness.  There  was  a  soft  grace  and  fin- 
ish about  his  manners  which  made  whatever  place 
he  happened  to  be  in  seem  for  the  moment  a 
drawing-room.  He  avoided  the  smoking-room.  He 
had  no  vices.  He  did  not  smoke  or  chew  tobacco 
or  take  snuff;  he  did  not  swear,  or  use  slang,  or 
rude,  or  coarse,  or  indelicate  language,  or  make 
pims,  or  tell  anecdotes,  or  laugh  intemperately,  or 
raise  his  voice  above  the  moderate  pitch  enjoined  by 
the  canons  of  good  form.  When  he  gave  an  order, 
his  manner  modified  it  into  a  request.  After  dinner 
he  and  his  officers  joined  the  ladies  and  gentlemen 
in  the  ladies*  saloon,  and  shared  in  the  singing  and 
piano-playing,  and  helped  turn  the  music.  He  had 
a  sweet  and  sympathetic  tenor  voice,  and  used  it 
with  taste  and  effect.  After  the  music  he  played 
whist  there,  always  with  the  same  partner  and  op- 
ponents, until  the  ladies'  bedtime.  The  electric 
lights  burned  there  as  late  as  the  ladies  and  their 
friends  might  desire,  but  they  were  not  allowed  to 
bum  in  the  smoking-room  after  eleven.  There  were 
many  laws  on  the  ship's  statute-book,  of  course; 
but,  so  far  as  I  could  see,  this  and  one  other  were 
the  only  ones  that  were  rigidly  enforced.     The  cap- 

3 


MARK     TWAIN 

tain  explained  that  he  enforced  this  one  because  his 
own  cabin  adjoined  the  smoking-room,  and  the 
smell  of  tobacco  smoke  made  him  sick.  I  did  not 
see  how  our  smoke  could  reach  him,  for  the  smoking- 
room  and  his  cabin  were  on  the  upper  deck,  targets 
for  all  the  winds  that  blew;  and  besides  there  was 
no  crack  of  communication  between  them,  no  open- 
ing of  any  sort  in  the  soHd  intervening  bulkhead. 
Still,  to  a  delicate  stomach  even  imaginary  smoke 
can  convey  damage. 

The  captain,  with  his  gentle  nature,  his  polish, 
his  sweetness,  his  moral  and  verbal  purity,  seemed 
pathetically  out  of  place  in  his  rude  and  autocratic 
vocation.  It  seemed  another  instance  of  the  irony 
of  fate. 

He  was  going  home  imder  a  cloud.  The  passen- 
gers knew  about  his  trouble,  and  were  sorry  for 
him.  Approaching  Vancouver  through  a  narrow 
and  difficult  passage  densely  befogged  with  smoke 
from  the  forest  fires,  he  had  had  the  ill  luck  to  lose 
his  bearings  and  get  his  ship  on  the  rocks.  A  mat- 
ter Hke  this  would  rank  merely  as  an  error  with 
you  and  me;  it  ranks  as  a  crime  with  the  directors 
of  steamship  companies.  The  captain  had  been 
tried  by  the  Admiralty  Court  at  Vancouver,  and  its 
verdict  had  acquitted  him  of  blame.  But  that  was 
insufficient  comfort.  A  sterner  court  would  examine 
the  case  in  Sydney — the  Court  of  Directors,  the 
lords  of  a  company  in  whose  ships  the  captain  had 
served  as  mate  a  number  of  years.  This  was  his 
first  voyage  as  captain. 

The  officers  of  our  ship  were  hearty  and  com- 

4 


FOLLOWING    THE     EQUATOR 

pardonable  young  men,  and  they  entered  into  the 
general  amusements  and  helped  the  passengers  pass 
the  time.  Voyages  in  the  Pacific  and  Indian  Oceans 
are  but  pleasure  excursions  for  all  hands.  Our  piu*- 
ser  was  a  young  Scotchman  who  was  equipped  with 
a  grit  that  was  remarkable.  He  was  an  invalid, 
and  looked  it,  as  far  as  his  body  was  concerned, 
but  illness  could  not  subdue  his  spirit.  He  was  full 
of  life,  and  had  a  gay  and  capable  tongue.  To  all 
appearances  he  was  a  sick  man  without  being  aware 
of  it,  for  he  did  not  talk  about  his  ailments,  and  his 
bearing  and  conduct  were  those  of  a  person  in  robust 
health;  yet  he  was  the  prey,  at  intervals,  of  ghastly 
sieges  of  pain  in  his  heart.  These  lasted  many 
hours,  and  while  the  attack  continued  he  could 
neither  sit  nor  lie.  In  one  instance  he  stood  on  his 
feet  twenty-four  hours  fighting  for  his  life  with 
these  sharp  agonies,  and  yet  was  as  full  of  life 
and  cheer  and  activity  the  next  day  as  if  nothing 
had  happened. 

The  brightest  passenger  in  the  ship,  and  the  most 
interesting  and  felicitous  talker,  was  a  young  Ca- 
nadian who  was  not  able  to  let  the  whisky  bottle 
alone.  He  was  of  a  rich  and  powerful  family,  and 
could  have  had  a  distinguished  career  and  abundance 
of  effective  help  toward  it  if  he  could  have  con- 
quered his  appetite  for  drink;  but  he  could  not  do 
it,  so  his  great  equipment  of  talent  was  of  no  use  to 
him.  He  had  often  taken  the  pledge  to  drink  no 
more,  and  was  a  good  example  of  what  that  sort  of 
imwisdom  can  do  for  a  man — for  a  man  with  any- 
thing short  of  an  iron  will.     The  system  is  wrong  in 

5 


MARK    TWAIN 

two  ways:  it  does  not  strike  at  the  root  of  the 
trouble,  for  one  thing,  and  to  make  a  pledge  of  any 
kind  is  to  declare  war  against  nature;  for  a  pledge 
is  a  chain  that  is  always  clanking  and  reminding  the 
wearer  of  it  that  he  is  not  a  free  man. 

I  have  said  that  the  system  does  not  strike  at  the 
root  of  the  trouble,  and  I  venture  to  repeat  that. 
The  root  is  not  the  drinking,  but  the  desire  to 
drink.  These  are  very  different  things.  The  one 
merely  requires  will — and  a  great  deal  of  it,  both 
as  to  bulk  and  staying  capacity — the  other  merely 
requires  watchfulness — and  for  no  long  time.  The 
desire  of  course  precedes  the  act,  and  should  have 
one's  first  attention;  it  can  do  but  little  good  to 
refuse  the  act  over  and  over  again,  always  leaving 
the  desire  unmolested,  unconquered;  the  desire  will 
continue  to  assert  itself,  and  will  be  almost  sure  to 
win  in  the  long  nm.  When  the  desire  intrudes,  it 
should  be  at  once  banished  out  of  the  mind.  One 
should  be  on  the  watch  for  it  all  the  time — other- 
wise it  will  get  in.  It  must  be  taken  in  time  and 
not  allowed  to  get  a  lodgment.  A  desire  constantly 
repulsed  for  a  fortnight  should  die,  then.  That 
should  cure  the  drinking-habit.  The  system  of  re- 
fusing the  mere  act  of  drinking,  and  leaving  the 
desire  in  full  force,  is  imintelligent  war  tactics,  it 
seems  to  me. 

I  used  to  take  pledges — and  soon  violate  them. 
My  will  was  not  strong,  and  I  could  not  help  it. 
And  then,  to  be  tied  in  any  way  naturally  irks  an 
otherwise  free  person  and  makes  him  chafe  in  his 
bonds  and  want  to  get  his  Hberty.     But  when  I 

6 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

finally  ceased  from  taking  definite  pledges,  and 
merely  resolved  that  I  would  kill  an  injurious  desire, 
but  leave  myself  free  to  resume  the  desire  and  the 
habit  whenever  I  should  choose  to  do  so,  I  had  no 
more  trouble.  In  five  days  I  drove  out  the  desire 
to  smoke  and  was  not  obliged  to  keep  watch  after 
that;  and  I  never  experienced  any  strong  desire  to 
smoke  again.  At  the  end  of  a  year  and  a  quarter 
of  idleness  I  began  to  write  a  book,  and  presently 
found  that  the  pen  was  strangely  reluctant  to  go.  I 
tried  a  smoke  to  see  if  that  would  help  me  out  of 
the  difficulty.  It  did.  I  smoked  eight  or  ten  cigars 
and  as  many  pipes  a  day  for  five  months;  finished 
the  book,  and  did  not  smoke  again  until  a  year  had 
gone  by  and  another  book  had  to  be  begun. 

I  can  quit  any  of  my  nineteen  injurious  habits  at 
any  time,  and  without  discomfort  or  inconvenience. 
I  think  that  the  Dr.  Tanners  and  those  others  who 
go  forty  days  without  eating  do  it  by  resolutely 
keeping  out  the  desire  to  eat,  in  the  beginning;  and 
that  after  a  few  hours  the  desire  is  discouraged  and 
comes  no  more. 

Once  I  tried  my  scheme  in  a  large  medical  way. 
I  had  been  confined  to  my  bed  several  days  with 
lumbago.  My  case  refused  to  improve.  Finally  the 
doctor  said : 

"My  remedies  have  no  fair  chance.  Consider 
what  they  have  to  fight,  besides  the  lumbago.  You 
smoke  extravagantly,  don't  you?" 

"Yes." 

"You  take  coffee  immoderately?" 

"Yes." 

7 


MARK     TWAIN 

"And  some  tea?" 

"Yes." 

"You  eat  all  kinds  of  things  that  are  dissatisfied 
with  each  other's  company?" 

"Yes." 

"You  drink  two  hot  Scotches  every  night?" 

"Yes." 

*  *  Very  well,  there  you  can  see  what  I  have  to  con- 
tend against.  We  can't  make  progress  the  way  the 
matter  stands.  You  must  make  a  reduction  in 
these  things;  you  must  cut  down  your  consumption 
of  them  considerably  for  some  days." 

"I  can't,  doctor." 

"Why  can't  you?" 

"I  lack  the  will-power.  I  can  cut  them  off  en- 
tirely, but  I  can't  merely  moderate  them." 

He  said  that  that  would  answer,  and  said  he  would 
come  around  in  twenty-four  hours  and  begin  work 
again.  He  was  taken  ill  himself  and  could  not 
come;  but  I  did  not  need  him.  I  cut  off  all  those 
things  for  two  days  and  nights ;  in  fact,  I  cut  off  all 
kinds  of  food,  too,  and  all  drinks  except  water,  and 
at  the  end  of  the  forty-eight  hours  the  lumbago  was 
discouraged  and  left  me.  I  was  a  well  man;  so  I 
gave  thanks  and  took  to  those  delicacies  again. 

It  seemed  a  valuable  medical  course,  and  I  recom- 
mended it  to  a  lady.  She  had  run  down  and  down 
and  down,  and  had  at  last  reached  a  point  where 
medicines  no  longer  had  any  helpful  effect  upon 
her.  I  said  I  knew  I  could  put  her  upon  her  feet  in 
a  week.  It  brightened  her  up,  it  filled  her  with 
hope,  and  she  said  she  would  do  everything  I  told 

8 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

her  to  do.  So  I  said  she  must  stop  swearing  and 
drinking  and  smoking  and  eating  for  four  days,  and 
then  she  would  be  all  right  again.  And  it  would 
have  happened  just  so,  I  know  it;  but  she  said  she 
could  not  stop  swearing  and  smoking  and  drinking, 
because  she  had  never  done  these  things.  So  there 
it  was.  She  had  neglected  her  habits,  and  hadn't 
any.  Now  that  they  would  have  come  good,  there 
were  none  in  stock.  She  had  nothing  to  fall  back 
on.  She  was  a  sinking  vessel,  with  no  freight  in 
her  to  throw  overboard  and  lighten  ship  withal. 
Why,  even  one  or  two  little  bad  habits  could  have 
saved  her,  but  she  was  just  a  moral  pauper.  When 
she  could  have  acquired  them  she  was  dissuaded  by 
her  parents,  who  were  ignorant  people  though 
reared  in  the  best  society,  and  it  was  too  late  to 
begin  now.  It  seemed  such  a  pity;  but  there  was 
no  help  for  it.  These  things  ought  to  be  attended 
to  while  a  person  is  young;  otherwise,  when  age 
and  disease  come,  there  is  nothing  effectual  to  fight 
them  with. 

When  I  was  a  youth  I  used  to  take  all  kinds  of 
pledges,  and  do  my  best  to  keep  them,  but  I  never 
could,  because  I  didn't  strike  at  the  root  of  the 
habit — the  desire;  I  generally  broke  down  within 
the  month.  Once  I  tried  limiting  a  habit.  That 
worked  tolerably  well  for  a  while.  I  pledged  myself 
to  smoke  but  one  cigar  a  day.  I  kept  the  cigar 
waiting  until  bedtime,  then  I  had  a  luxurious  time 
with  it.  But  desire  persecuted  me  every  day  and 
all  day  long;  so,  within  the  week  I  found  myself 
hunting  for  larger  cigars  than  I  had  been  used  to 

9 


MARK     TWAIN 

smoke;  then  larger  ones  still,  and  still  larger  ones. 
Within  the  fortnight  I  was  getting  cigars  made  for 
me — on  a  yet  larger  pattern.  They  still  grew  and 
grew  in  size.  Within  the  month  my  cigar  had 
grown  to  such  proportions  that  I  could  have  used  it 
as  a  crutch.  It  now  seemed  to  me  that  a  one-cigar 
limit  was  no  real  protection  to  a  person,  so  I  knocked 
my  pledge  on  the  head  and  resumed  my  liberty. 

To  go  back  to  that  young  Canadian.  He  was  a 
** remittance-man,"  the  first  one  I  had  ever  seen  or 
heard  of.  Passengers  explained  the  term  to  me. 
They  said  that  dissipated  ne'er-do-weels  belonging 
to  important  families  in  England  and  Canada  were 
not  cast  off  by  their  people  while  there  was  any 
hope  of  reforming  them,  but  when  that  last  hope 
perished  at  last,  the  ne'er-do-weel  was  sent  abroad 
to  get  him  out  of  the  way.  He  was  shipped  off  with 
just  enough  money  in  his  pocket — no,  in  the  pur- 
ser's pocket — for  the  needs  of  the  voyage — and 
when  he  reached  his  destined  port  he  would  find  a 
remittance  awaiting  him  there.  Not  a  large  one, 
but  just  enough  to  keep  him  a  month.  A  similar 
remittance  would  come  monthly  thereafter.  It  was 
the  remittance-man's  custom  to  pay  his  month's 
board  and  lodging  straightway — a  duty  which  his 
landlord  did  not  allow  him  to  forget — then  spree 
away  the  rest  of  his  money  in  a  single  night,  then 
brood  and  mope  and  grieve  in  idleness  till  the  next 
remittance  came.     It  is  a  pathetic  life. 

We  had  other  remittance-men  on  board,  it  was 
said.  At  least  they  said  they  were  R.  M.'s.  There 
were  two.   But  they  did  not  resemble  the  Canadian; 

lO 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

they  lacked  his  tidiness,  and  his  brains,  and  his 
gentlemanly  ways,  and  his  resolute  spirit,  and  his 
humanities  and  generosities.  One  of  them  was  a 
lad  of  nineteen  or  twenty,  and  he  was  a  good  deal 
of  a  ruin,  as  to  clothes,  and  morals,  and  general 
aspect.  He  said  he  was  a  scion  of  a  ducal  house 
in  England,  and  had  been  shipped  to  Canada  for 
the  house's  relief,  that  he  had  fallen  into  trouble 
there,  and  was  now  being  shipped  to  Australia.  He 
said  he  had  no  title.  Beyond  this  remark  he  was 
economical  of  the  truth.  The  first  thing  he  did  in 
Australia  was  to  get  into  the  lockup,  and  the  next 
thing  he  did  was  to  proclaim  himself  an  earl  in  the 
police  court  in  the  morning  and  fail  to  prove  it. 


CHAPTER  II 

WHAT  DID   POOR  BROWN  DO? 

When  in  doubt,   tell   the   truth. — Pudd'nhead   Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

A  BOUT  four  days  out  from  Victoria  we  plunged 
i\  into  hot  weather,  and  all  the  male  passengers 
put  on  white  linen  clothes.  One  or  two  days  later 
we  crossed  the  25th  parallel  of  north  latitude,  and 
then,  by  order,  the  officers  of  the  ship  laid  away 
their  blue  uniforms  and  came  out  in  white  linen 
ones.  All  the  ladies  were  in  white  by  this  time. 
This  prevalence  of  snowy  costumes  gave  the  prom- 
enade deck  an  invitingly  cool  and  cheerful  and 
picknicky  aspect. 

From  my  diary: 

There  are  several  sorts  of  ills  in  the  world  from 
which  a  person  can  never  escape  altogether,  let  him 
journey  as  far  as  he  will.  One  escapes  from  one 
breed  of  an  ill  only  to  encoimter  another  breed  of 
it.  We  have  come  far  from  the  snake  liar  and  the 
fish  liar,  and  there  was  rest  and  peace  in  the  thought ; 
but  now  we  have  reached  the  realm  of  the  boomerang 
liar,  and  sorrow  is  with  us  once  more.  The  first 
officer  has  seen  a  man  try  to  escape  from  his  enemy 
by  getting  behind  a  tree;  but  the  enemy  sent  his 
boomerang  sailing  into  the  sky  far  above  and  beyond 
the  tree;  then  it  turned,  descended,  and  killed  the 
man.     The  Australian  passenger  has  seen  this  thing 

12 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

done  to  two  men,  behind  two  trees — and  by  the  one 
arrow.  This  being  received  with  a  large  silence  that 
suggested  doubt,  he  buttressed  it  with  the  statement 
that  his  brother  once  saw  the  boomerang  kill  a  bird 
away  off  a  hundred  yards  and  bring  it  to  the  thrower. 
But  these  are  ills  which  must  be  borne.  There  is 
no  other  way. 

The  talk  passed  from  the  boomerang  to  dreams — 
usually  a  fruitful  subject,  afloat  or  ashore — ^but  this 
time  the  output  was  poor.  Then  it  passed  to  in- 
stances of  extraordinary  memory — with  better  re- 
sults. BHnd  Tom,  the  negro  pianist,  was  spoken  of, 
and  it  was  said  that  he  could  accurately  play  any 
piece  of  music,  howsoever  long  and  difficult,  after 
hearing  it-  once ;  and  that  six  months  later  he  could 
accurately  play  it  again,  without  having  touched  it 
in  the  interval.  One  of  the  most  striking  of  the 
stories  told  was  furnished  by  a  gentleman  who  had 
served  on  the  staff  of  the  Viceroy  of  India.  He 
read  the  details  from  his  note-book,  and  explained 
that  he  had  written  them  down,  right  after  the  con- 
summation of  the  incident  which  they  described, 
because  he  thought  that  if  he  did  not  put  them  down 
in  black  and  white  he  might  presently  come  to  think 
he  had  dreamed  them  or  invented  them. 

The  Viceroy  was  making  a  progress,  and  among 
the  shows  offered  by  the  Maharajah  of  Mysore  for 
his  entertainment  was  a  memory-exhibition.  The 
Viceroy  and  thirty  gentlemen  of  his  suite  sat  in  a 
row,  and  the  memory-expert,  a  high-caste  Brahmin, 
was  brought  in  and  seated  on  the  floor  in  front  of 
them.     He  said  he  knew  but  two  languages,    the 

13 


MARK     TWAIN 

English  and  his  own,  but  would  not  exclude  any 
foreign  tongue  from  the  tests  to  be  applied  to  his 
memory.  Then  he  laid  before  the  assemblage  his 
program — a  sufficiently  extraordinary  one.  He  pro- 
posed that  one  gentleman  should  give  him  one  word 
of  a  foreign  sentence,  and  tell  him  its  place  in  the 
sentence.  He  was  furnished  with  the  French  word 
est,  and  was  told  it  was  second  in  a  sentence  of  three 
words.  The  next  gentleman  gave  him  the  German 
word  verloren  and  said  it  was  the  third  in  a  sentence 
of  four  words.  He  asked  the  next  gentleman  for 
one  detail  in  a  sum  in  addition;  another  for  one 
detail  in  a  sum  of  subtraction;  others  for  single 
details  in  mathematical  problems  of  various  kinds; 
he  got  them.  Intermediates  gave  him  single  words 
from  sentences  in  Greek,  Latin,  Spanish,  Portuguese, 
Italian,  and  other  languages,  and  told  him  their 
places  in  the  sentences.  When  at  last  everybody 
had  furnished  him  a  single  rag  from  a  foreign  sen- 
tence or  a  figure  from  a  problem,  he  went  over  the 
ground  again,  and  got  a  second  word  and  a  second 
figure  and  was  told  their  places  in  the  sentences 
and  the  simis;  and  so  on  and  so  on.  He  went  over 
the  groimd  again  and  again  until  he  had  collected 
all  the  parts  of  the  sums  and  all  the  parts  of  the 
sentences — and  all  in  disorder,  of  course,  not  in 
their  proper  rotation.  This  had  occupied  two  hours. 
The  Brahmin  now  sat  silent  and  thinking,  awhile, 
then  began  and  repeated  all  the  sentences,  placing 
the  words  in  their  proper  order,  and  untangled  the 
disordered  arithmetical  problems  and  gave  accurate 
answers  to  them  all. 

14 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

In  the  beginning  he  had  asked  the  company  to 
throw  almonds  at  him  during  the  two  hours,  he  to 
remember  how  many  each  gentleman  had  thrown; 
but  none  were  thrown,  for  the  Viceroy  said  that  the 
test  would  be  a  sufficiently  severe  strain  without 
adding  that  burden  to  it. 

General  Grant  had  a  fine  memory  for  all  kinds  of 
things,  including  even  names  and  faces,  and  I  could 
have  furnished  an  instance  of  it  if  I  had  thought  of 
it.  The  first  time  I  ever  saw  him  was  early  in  his 
first  term  as  President.  I  had  just  arrived  in 
Washington  from  the  Pacific  coast,  a  stranger  and 
wholly  unknown  to  the  public,  and  was  passing  the 
White  House  one  morning  when  I  met  a  friend,  a 
Senator  from  Nevada.  He  asked  me  if  I  would 
like  to  see  the  President.  I  said  I  should  be  very 
glad;  so  we  entered.  I  supposed  that  the  President 
would  be  in  the  midst  of  a  crowd,  and  that  I  could 
look  at  him  in  peace  and  security  from  a  distance, 
as  another  stray  cat  might  look  at  another  king. 
But  it  was  in  the  morning,  and  the  Senator  was 
using  a  privilege  of  his  office  which  I  had  not  heard 
of — the  privilege  of  intruding  upon  the  Chief  Magis- 
trate's working-hours.  Before  I  knew  it,  the  Senator 
and  I  were  in  the  presence,  and  there  was  none 
there  but  we  three.  General  Grant  got  slowly  up 
from  his  table,  put  his  pen  down,  and  stood  before 
me  with  the  iron  expression  of  a  man  who  had 
not  smiled  for  seven  years,  and  was  not  intending 
to  smile  for  another  seven.  He  looked  me  steadily 
in  the  eyes — mine  lost  confidence  and  fell.  I  had 
never  confronted  a  great  man  before,  and  was  in 

IS 


MARK     TWAIN 

a  miserable  state  of  funk  and  inefficiency.  The 
Senator  said : 

"Mr.  President,  may  I  have  the  privilege  of 
introducing  Mr.  Clemens?" 

The  President  gave  my  hand  an  imsympathetic 
wag  and  dropped  it.  He  did  not  say  a  word,  but 
just  stood.  In  my  trouble  I  could  not  think  of  any- 
thing to  say,  I  merely  wanted  to  resign.  There  was 
an  awkward  pause,  a  dreary  pause,  a  horrible  pause. 
Then  I  thought  of  something,  and  looked  up  into 
that  imyielding  face,  and  said  timidly: 

*'Mr.  President,  I — I  am  embarrassed.    Are  you?" 

His  face  broke — just  a  little — a  wee  glimmer,  the 
momentary  flicker  of  a  simimer-lightning  smile,  sev- 
en years  ahead  of  time — and  I  was  out  and  gone  as 
soon  as  it  was. 

Ten  years  passed  away  before  I  saw  him  the  sec- 
ond time.  Meantime  I  was  become  better  known; 
and  was  one  of  the  people  appointed  to  respond  to 
toasts  at  the  banquet  given  to  General  Grant  in  Chi- 
cago by  the  Army  of  the  Tennessee  when  he  came 
back  from  his  tour  aroimd  the  world.  I  arrived 
late  at  night  and  got  up  late  in  the  morning.  All 
the  corridors  of  the  hotel  were  crowded  with  people 
waiting  to  get  a  glimpse  of  General  Grant  when  he 
should  pass  to  the  place  whence  he  was  to  review 
the  great  procession.  I  worked  my  way  by  the 
suite  of  packed  drawing-rooms,  and  at  the  comer  of 
the  house  I  found  a  window  open  where  there  was  a 
roomy  platform  decorated  with  flags,  and  carpeted. 
I  stepped  out  on  it,  and  saw  below  me  millions  of 
people  blocking  all  the  streets,  and  other  millions 

i6 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

caked  together  in  all  the  windows  and  on  all  the 
housetops  around.  These  masses  took  me  for  Gen- 
eral Grant,  and  broke  into  volcanic  explosions  and 
cheers ;  but  it  was  a  good  place  to  see  the  procession, 
and  I  stayed.  Presently  I  heard  the  distant  blare 
of  military  music,  and  far  up  the  street  I  saw  the 
procession  come  in  sight,  cleaving  its  way  through 
the  huzzaing  multitudes,  with  Sheridan,  the  most 
martial  figure  of  the  War,  riding  at  its  head  in  the 
dress  imiform  of  a  Lieutenant-General. 

And  now  General  Grant,  arm-in-arm  with  Major 
Carter  Harrison,  stepped  out  on  the  platform,  fol- 
lowed two  and  two  by  the  badged  and  uniformed 
reception  committee.  General  Grant  was  looking 
exactly  as  he  had  looked  upon  that  trying  occa- 
sion of  ten  years  before — all  iron  and  bronze  self- 
possession.  Mr.  Harrison  came  over  and  led  me  to 
the  General  and  formally  introduced  me.  Before  I 
could  put  together  the  proper  remark,  General  Grant 
said: 

''Mr.  Clemens,  I  am  not  embarrassed.  Are  you?" 
— ^and  that  Httle  seven-year  smile  twinkled  across 
his  face  again. 

Seventeen  years  have  gone  by  since  then,  and 
to-day,  in  New  York,  the  streets  are  a  crush  of  people 
who  are  there  to  honor  the  remains  of  the  great 
soldier  as  they  pass  to  their  final  resting-place  under 
the  monument ;  and  the  air  is  heavy  with  dirges  and 
the  boom  of  artillery,  and  all  the  millions  of  America 
are  thinking  of  the  man  who  restored  the  Union  and 
the  flag,  and  gave  to  democratic  government  a  new 
lease  of  life,  and,  as  we  may  hope  and  do  believe,  a 

17 


MARK     TWAIN 

permanent  place  among  the  beneficent  institutions 
of  men. 

We  had  one  game  in  the  ship  which  was  a  good 
time-passer — at  least  it  was  at  night  in  the  smoking- 
room  when  the  men  were  getting  freshened  up  from 
the  day's  monotonies  and  dullnesses.  It  was  the 
completing  of  non-complete  stories.  That  is  to  say, 
a  man  would  tell  all  of  a  story  except  the  finish, 
then  the  others  would  try  to  supply  the  ending  out 
of  their  owti  invention.  When  every  one  who  wanted 
a  chance  had  had  it,  the  man  who  had  introduced 
the  story  would  give  it  its  original  ending — then 
you  could  take  your  choice.  Sometimes  the  new 
endings  turned  out  to  be  better  than  the  old  one. 
But  the  story  which  called  out  the  most  persistent 
and  determined  and  ambitious  effort  was  one  which 
had  no  ending,  and  so  there  was  nothing  to  compare 
the  new-made  endings  with.  The  man  who  told  it 
said  he  could  furnish  the  particulars  up  to  a  certain 
point  only,  because  that  was  as  much  of  the  tale 
as  he  knew.  He  had  read  it  in  a  volume  of  sketches 
twenty-five  years  ago,  and  was  interrupted  before 
the  end  was  reached.  He  would  give  any  one  fifty 
dollars  who  would  finish  the  story  to  the  satisfac- 
tion of  a  jury  to  be  appointed  by  ourselves.  We 
appointed  a  jury  and  wrestled  with  the  tale.  We 
invented  plenty  of  endings,  but  the  jury  voted  them 
all  down.  The  jury  was  right.  It  was  a  tale  which 
the  author  of  it  may  possibly  have  completed  sat- 
isfactorily, and  if  he  really  had  that  good  fortune 
I  would  like  to  know  what  the  ending  was.  Any 
ordinary  man  will  find  that  the  story's  strength  is 

i8 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

in  its  middle,  and  that  there  is  apparently  no  way 
to  transfer  it  to  the  close,  where  of  cottrse  it  ought 
to  be.     In  substance  the  storiette  was  as  follows: 

John  Brown,  aged  thirty-one,  good,  gentle,  bashful,  timid, 
lived  in  a  qmet  village  in  Missouri.  He  was  superintendent  of 
the  Presbyterian  Sunday-school.  It  was  but  a  humble  distinc- 
tion; still,  it  was  his  only  official  one,  and  he  was  modestly  proud 
of  it  and  was  devoted  to  its  work  and  its  interests.  The  extreme 
kindliness  of  his  nature  was  recognized  by  all;  in  fact,  people 
said  that  he  was  made  entirely  out  of  good  impulses  and  bash- 
fulness;  that  he  could  always  be  counted  upon  for  help  when  it 
was  needed,  and  for  bashfulness  both  when  it  was  needed,  and 
when  it  wasn't. 

Mary  Taylor,  twenty-three,  modest,  sweet,  winning,  and  in 
character  and  person  beautiful,  was  all  in  all  to  him.  And  he 
was  very  nearly  all  in  all  to  her.  She  was  wavering,  his  hopes 
were  high.  Her  mother  had  been  in  opposition  from  the  first. 
But  she  was  wavering,  too;  he  could  see  it.  She  was  being 
touched  by  his  warm  interest  in  her  two  charity  prot^g^s  and  by 
his  contributions  toward  their  support.  These  were  two  forlorn 
and  aged  sisters  who  lived  in  a  log  hut  in  a  lonely  place  up  a 
cross-road  four  miles  from  Mrs.  Taylor's  farm.  One  of  the 
sisters  was  crazy,  and  sometimes  a  Uttle  violent,  but  not  often. 

At  last  the  time  seemed  ripe  for  a  final  advance,  and  Brown 
gathered  his  courage  together  and  resolved  to  make  it.  He 
would  take  along  a  contribution  of  double  the  usual  size,  and 
win  the  mother  over;  with  her  opposition  annulled,  the  rest  of 
the  conquest  would  be  sure  and  prompt. 

He  took  to  the  road  in  the  middle  of  a  placid  Sunday  after- 
noon in  the  soft  Missourian  summer,  and  he  was  equipped  proper- 
ly for  his  mission.  He  was  clothed  all  in  white  linen,  with  a 
blue  ribbon  for  a  necktie,  and  he  had  on  dressy  tight  boots.  His 
horse  and  buggy  were  the  finest  that  the  livery-stable  could  fur- 
nish. The  lap-robe  was  of  white  linen,  it  was  new,  and  it  had  a 
hand-worked  border  that  could  not  be  rivaled  in  that  region  for 
beauty  and  elaboration. 

When  he  was  four  miles  out  on  the  lonely  road  and  was  walk- 
ing his  horse  over  a  wooden  bridge,  his  straw  hat  blew  off  and 
fell  in  the  creek,  and  floated  down  and  lodged  against  a  bar. 

19 


MARK     TWAIN 

He  did  not  quite  know  what  to  do.  He  must  have  the  hat,  that 
was  manifest;  but  how  was  he  to  get  it? 

Then  he  had  an  idea.  The  roads  were  empty,  nobody  was 
stirring.  Yes,  he  would  risk  it.  He  led  the  horse  to  the  road- 
side and  set  it  to  cropping  the  grass;  then  he  undressed  and  put 
his  clothes  in  the  buggy,  petted  the  horse  a  moment  to  secure 
its  compassion  and  its  loyalty,  then  hurried  to  the  stream.  He 
swam  out  p,nd  soon  had  the  hat.  When  he  got  to  the  top  of  the 
bank  the  horse  was  gone! 

His  legs  almost  gave  way  under  him.  The  horse  was  walking 
leisurely  along  the  road.  Brown  trotted  after  it,  saying,  "Whoa, 
whoa,  there's  a  good  fellow";  but  whenever  he  got  near  enough 
to  chance  a  jump  for  the  buggy,  the  horse  quickened  its  pace  a 
little  and  defeated  him.  And  so  this  went  on,  the  naked  man 
perishing  with  anxiety,  and  expecting  every  moment  to  see  peo- 
ple come  in  sight.  He  tagged  on  and  on,  imploring  the  horse, 
beseeching  the  horse,  till  he  had  left  a  mile  behind  him,  and  was 
closing  up  on  the  Taylor  premises;  then  at  last  he  was  success- 
ful, and  got  into  the  buggy.  He  flung  on  his  shirt,  his  necktie, 
and  his  coat;  then  reached  for — but  he  was  too  late;  he  sat  sud- 
denly down  and  pulled  up  the  lap-robe,  for  he  saw  some  one 
coming  out  of  the  gate — a  woman,  he  thought.  He  wheeled  the 
horse  to  the  left,  and  struck  briskly  up  the  cross-road.  It  was 
perfectly  straight,  and  exposed  on  both  sides;  but  there  were 
woods  and  a  sharp  turn  three  miles  ahead,  and  he  was  very 
grateful  when  he  got  there.  As  he  passed  around  the  turn  he 
slowed  down  to  a  walk,  and  reached  for  his  tr — too  late  again. 

He  had  come  upon  Mrs.  Enderby,  Mrs.  Glossop,  Mrs.  Taylor, 
and  Mary.  They  were  on  foot,  and  seemed  tired  and  excited. 
They  came  at  once  to  the  buggy  and  shook  hands,  and  all  spoke 
at  once,  and  said,  eagerly  and  earnestly,  how  glad  they  were 
that  he  was  come,  and  how  fortunate  it  was.  And  Mrs.  Ender- 
by said,  impressively: 

"It  looks  like  an  accident,  his  coming  at  such  a  time;  but  let 
no  one  profane  it  with  such  a  name;  he  was  sent — sent  from  on 
high." 

They  were  all  moved,  and  Mrs.  Glossop  said  in  an  awed  voice: 

"Sarah  Enderby,  you  never  said  a  truer  word  in  your  life. 
This  is  no  accident,  it  is  a  special  Providence.  He  was  sent.  He 
is  an  angel — an  angel  as  truly  as  ever  angel  was — an  angel  of 
deliverance.    /  say  angel^  Sarah  Enderby,  and  will  have  no 

20 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

other  word.  Don't  let  any  one  ever  say  to  me  again,  that  there's 
no  such  thing  as  special  Providences;  for  if  this  isn't  one,  let 
them  account  for  it  that  can." 

"I  know  it's  so,"  said  Mrs.  Taylor,  fervently.  "John  Brown, 
I  could  worship  you;  I  could  go  down  on  my  knees  to  you. 
Didn't  something  tell  you — didn't  you  feel  that  you  were  sent? 
I  could  kiss  the  hem  of  your  lap-robe." 

He  was  not  able  to  speak;  he  was  helpless  with  shame  and 
fright.     Mrs.  Taylor  went  on: 

"Why,  just  look  at  it  all  around,  Julia  Glossop.  Any  person 
can  see  the  hand  of  Providence  in  it.  Here  at  noon  what  do  we 
see?  We  see  the  smoke  rising.  I  speak  up  and  say,  'That's  the 
Old  People's  cabin  afire.'     Didn't  I,  Julia  Glossop?" 

"The  very  words  you  said,  Nancy  Taylor.  I  was  as  close  to 
you  as  I  am  now,  and  I  heard  them.  You  may  have  said  hut 
instead  of  cabin,  but  in  substance  it's  the  same.  And  you  were 
looking  pale,  too." 

"Pale?  I  was  that  pale  that  if — why,  you  just  compare  it 
with  this  lap-robe.  Then  the  next  thing  I  said  was,  *  Mary  Tay- 
lor, tell  the  hired  man  to  rig  up  the  team — we'll  go  to  the  rescue.' 
And  she  said,  'Mother,  don't  you  know  you  told  him  he  could 
drive  to  see  his  people,  and  stay  over  Sunday?'  And  it  was  just 
so.  I  declare  for  it,  I  had  forgotten  it.  'Then,' said  I, 'we'll  go 
afoot.*  And  go  we  did.  And  foimd  Sarah  Enderby  on  the 
road." 

"And  we  all  went  together,"  said  Mrs.  Enderby.  "And  found 
the  cabin  set  fire  and  burnt  down  by  the  crazy  one,  and  the  poor 
old  things  so  old  and  feeble  that  they  couldn't  go  afoot.  And 
we  got  them  to  a  shady  place  and  made  them  as  comfortable  as 
we  could,  and  began  to  wonder  which  way  to  turn  to  find  some 
way  to  get  them  conveyed  to  Nancy  Taylor's  house.  And  I 
spoke  up  and  said — now  what  did  I  say?  Didn't  I  say,  'Provi- 
dence will  provide'?" 

"Why  sure  as  you  live,  so  you  did!     I  had  forgotten  it." 

"So  had  I,"  said  Mrs.  Glossop  and  Mrs.  Taylor;  "but  you 
certainly  said  it.     Now  wasn't  that  remarkable?" 

"  Yes,  I  said  it.  And  then  we  went  to  Mr.  Moseley's,  two  miles, 
and  all  of  them  were  gone  to  the  camp-meeting  over  on  Stony 
Fork;  and  then  we  came  all  the  way  back,  two  miles,  and  then 
here,  another  mile — and  Providence  has  provided.  You  see  it 
yourselves." 

21 


MARK     TWAIN 

They  gazed  at  each  other  awe-struck,  and  lifted  their  hands 
and  said  in  unison: 

"It's  per-fectly  wonderful." 

"And  then,"  said  Mrs.  Glossop,  "what  do  you  think  we  had 
better  do — let  Mr.  Brown  drive  the  Old  People  to  Nancy  Tay- 
lor's one  at  a  time,  or  put  both  of  them  in  the  buggy,  and  him 
lead  the  horse?" 

Brown  gasped. 

"Now,  then,  that's  a  question,"  said  Mrs.  Enderby.  "You 
see,  we  are  all  tired  out,  and  any  way  we  fix  it  it's  going  to  be 
difficult.  For  if  Mr.  Brown  takes  both  of  them,  at  least  one  of  us 
must  go  back  to  help  him,  for  he  can't  load  them  into  the  buggy 
by  himself,  and  they  so  helpless." 

"That  is  so,"  said  Mrs.  Taylor.  "It  doesn't  look— oh,  how 
would  this  do! — one  of  us  drive  there  with  Mr.  Brown,  and  the 
rest  of  you  go  along  to  my  house  and  get  things  ready.  I'll  go 
with  him.  He  and  I  together  can  lift  one  of  the  Old  People  into 
the  buggy;  then  drive  her  to  my  house  and — " 

"But  who  will  take  care  of  the  other  one?"  said  Mrs.  Ender- 
by. "We  mustn't  leave  her  there  in  the  woods  alone,  you  know 
— especially  the  crazy  one.  There  and  back  is  eight  miles,  you 
see." 

They  had  all  been  sitting  on  the  grass  beside  the  buggy  for  a 
while,  now,  trying  to  rest  their  weary  bodies.  They  fell  silent  a 
moment  or  two,  and  struggled  in  thought  over  the  baffling  situa- 
tion;  then  Mrs.  Enderby  brightened  and  said: 

"I  think  I've  got  the  idea,  now.  You  see,  we  can't  walk  any 
more.  Think  what  we've  done;  four  miles  there,  two  to  Mose- 
ley's,  is  six,  then  back  to  here — nine  miles  since  noon,  and  not  a 
bite  to  eat:  I  declare  I  don't  see  how  we've  done  it;  and  as  for 
me,  I  am  just  famishing.  Now,  somebody's  got  to  go  back,  to 
help  Mr.  Brown — there's  no  getting  around  that;  but  whoever 
goes  has  got  to  ride,  not  walk.  So  my  idea  is  this:  one  of  us 
to  ride  back  with  Mr.  Brown,  then  ride  to  Nancy  Taylor's  house 
with  one  of  the  Old  People,  leaving  Mr.  Brown  to  keep  the  other 
old  one  company,  you  all  to  go  now  to  Nancy's  and  rest  and  wait; 
then  one  of  you  drive  back  and  get  the  other  one  and  drive  her 
to  Nancy's,  and  Mr.  Brown  walk." 

"Splendid!"  they  all  cried.  "Oh,  that  will  do— that  will 
answer  perfectly."  And  they  all  said  that  Mrs.  Enderby  had 
the  best  head  for  planning  in  the  company;  and  they  said  that 

22 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

they  wondered  that  they  hadn't  thought  of  this  simple  plan 
themselves.  They  hadn't  meant  to  take  back  the  compliment, 
good  simple  souls,  and  didn't  know  they  had  done  it.  After  a 
consultation  it  was  decided  that  Mrs.  Enderby  should  drive 
back  with  Brown,  she  being  entitled  to  the  distinction  because 
she  had  invented  the  plan.  Everything  now  being  satisfac- 
torily arranged  and  settled,  the  ladies  rose,  relieved  and  happy, 
and  brushed  down  their  gowns,  and  three  of  them  started  home- 
ward; Mrs.  Enderby  set  her  foot  on  the  buggy  step  and  was 
about  to  climb  in,  when  Brown  foimd  a  remnant  of  his  voice 
and  gasped  out — 

"Please,  Mrs.  Enderby,  call  them  back — I  am  very  weak;  I 
can't  walk,  I  can't  indeed." 

"Why,  dear  Mr.  Brown!  You  do  look  pale;  I  am  ashamed  of 
myself  that  I  didn't  notice  it  sooner.  Come  back — ^all  of  you! 
Mr.  Brown  is  not  well.  Is  there  anjrthing  I  can  do  for  you, 
Mr.  Brown — I'm  real  sorry.    Are  you  in  pain?" 

"No,  madam,  only  weak;  lam  not  sick,  but  only  just  weak 
— lately;  not  long,  but  just  lately." 

The  others  came  back,  and  poured  out  their  S5mipathies  and 
commiserations,  and  were  full  of  self-reproaches  for  not  having 
noticed  how  pale  he  was.  And  they  at  once  struck  out  a  new 
plan,  and  soon  agreed  that  it  was  by  far  the  best  of  all.  They 
would  all  go  to  Nancy  Taylor's  house  and  see  to  Brown's  needs 
first.  He  could  lie  on  the  sofa  in  the  parlor,  and  while  Mrs. 
Taylor  and  Mary  took  care  of  him  the  other  two  ladies  would 
take  the  buggy  and  go  and  get  one  of  the  Old  People,  and  leave 
one  of  themselves  with  the  other  one,  and — 

By  this  time,  without  any  solicitation,  they  were  at  the  horse's 
head  and  were  beginning  to  turn  him  around.  The  danger  was 
imminent,  but  Brown  foimd  his  voice  again  and  saved  himself. 
He  said — 

"But,  ladies,  you  are  overlooking  something  which  makes  the 
plan  impracticable.  You  see,  if  you  bring  one  of  them  home, 
and  one  remains  behind  with  the  other,  there  will  be  three  per- 
sons there  when  one  of  you  comes  back  for  that  other,  for  some 
one  must  drive  the  buggy  back,  and  three  can't  come  home 
in  it." 

They  all  exclaimed,  "Why,  sure-ly,  that  is  so!"  and  they  were 
all  perplexed  again. 

"Dear,  dear,  what  can  we  do?"  said  Mrs.  Glossop;  "it  is  the 

23 


MARK     TWAIN 

most  mixed-up  thing  that  ever  was.  The  fox  and  the  goose  and 
the  com  and  things — oh,  dear,  they  are  nothing  to  it." 

They  sat  wearily  down  once  more,  to  further  torture  their 
tormented  heads  for  a  plan  that  would  work.  Presently  Mary 
offered  a  plan;  it  was  her  first  effort.     She  said: 

'*I  am  young  and  strong,  and  am  refreshed,  now.  Take  Mr. 
Brown  to  our  house,  and  give  him  help — you  see  how  plainly  he 
needs  it.  I  will  go  back  and  take  care  of  the  Old  People;  I  can 
be  there  in  twenty  minutes.  You  can  go  on  and  do  what  you 
first  started  to  do — wait  on  the  main  road  at  our  house  until 
somebody  comes  along  with  a  wagon;  then  send  and  bring  away 
the  three  of  us.  You  won't  have  to  wait  long;  the  farm- 
ers will  soon  be  coming  back  from  town  now.  I  will  keep 
old  Polly  patient  and  cheered  up  —  the  crazy  one  doesn't 
need  it." 

This  plan  was  discussed  and  accepted;  it  seemed  the  best 
that  could  be  done,  in  the  circumstances,  and  the  Old  People 
must  be  getting  discouraged  by  this  time. 

Brown  felt  relieved,  and  was  deeply  thankful.  Let  him  once 
get  to  the  main  road  and  he  would  find  a  way  to  escape. 

Then  Mrs.  Taylor  said: 

"The  evening  chill  will  be  coming  on,  pretty  soon,  and  those 
poor  old  bumt-out  things  will  need  some  kind  of  covering.  Take 
the  lap-robe  with  you,  dear." 

"Very  well.  Mother,  I  will.'* 

She  stepped  to  the  buggy  and  put  out  her  hand  to  take  it — 

That  was  the  end  of  the  tale.  The  passenger  who 
told  it  said  that  when  he  read  the  story  twenty-five 
years  ago  in  a  train  he  was  interrupted  at  that 
point — the  train  jumped  off  a  bridge. 

At  first  we  thought  we  could  finish  the  story  quite 
easily,  and  we  set  to  work  with  confidence;  but  it 
soon  began  to  appear  that  it  was  not  a  simple  thing, 
but  difficult  and  baffling.  This  was  on  accoimt  of 
Brown's  character — great  generosity  and  kindliness, 
but  complicated  with  unusual  shyness  and  diffidence, 
particularly  in  the  presence  of  ladies.     There  was 

24 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

his  love  for  Mary,  in  a  hopeful  state  but  not  yet 
secure — just  in  a  condition,  indeed,  where  its  affair 
must  be  handled  with  great  tact,  and  no  mistakes 
made,  no  offense  given.  And  there  was  the  mother — 
wavering,  half  willing — by  adroit  and  flawless  diplo- 
macy to  be  won  over,  now,  or  perhaps  never  at  all. 
Also,  there  were  the  helpless  Old  People  yonder  in 
the  woods  waiting — their  fate  and  Brown's  happiness 
to  be  determined  by  what  Brown  should  do  within 
the  next  two  seconds.  Mary  was  reaching  for  the 
lap-robe;  Brown  must  decide — there  was  no  time  to 
be  lost. 

Of  course  none  but  a  happy  ending  of  the  story 
would  be  accepted  by  the  jury;  the  finish  must  find 
Brown  in  high  credit  with  the  ladies,  his  behavior 
without  blemish,  his  modesty  unwoimded,  his  char- 
acter for  self-sacrifice  maintained,  the  Old  People 
rescued  through  him,  their  benefactor,  all  the  party 
proud  of  him,  happy  in  him,  his  praises  on  all  their 
tongues. 

We  tried  to  arrange  this,  but  it  was  beset  with 
persistent  and  irreconcilable  difficulties.  We  saw 
that  Brown's  shyness  would  not  allow  him  to  give 
up  the  lap-robe.  This  would  offend  Mary  and  her 
mother;  and  it  would  surprise  the  other  ladies,  partly 
because  this  stinginess  toward  the  suffering  Old 
People  would  be  out  of  character  with  Brown,  and 
partly  because  he  was  a  special  Providence  and  could 
not  properly  act  so.  If  asked  to  explain  his  conduct, 
his  shyness  would  not  allow  him  to  tell  the  truth, 
and  lack  of  invention  and  practice  would  find  him 
incapable  of  contriving  a  lie  that  would  wash.     We 

25 


MARK     TWAIN 

worked  at  the  troublesome  problem  until  three  in 
the  morning. 

Meantime  Mary  was  still  reaching  for  the  lap- 
robe.  We  gave  it  up,  and  decided  to  let  her  continue 
to  reach.  It  is  the  reader's  privilege  to  determine 
for  himself  how  the  thing  came  out. 


CHAPTER  III 

HONOLULU  THE   BEAUTIFUL 

It  Is  more  trouble  to  make  a  maxim  than  it  is  to  do  right. 

— Pudd'nhead   Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

ON  the  seventh  day  out  we  saw  a  dim  vast  bulk 
standing  up  out  of  the  wastes  of  the  Pacific 
and  knew  that  that  spectral  promontory  was  Dia- 
mond Head,  a  piece  of  this  world  which  I  had  not 
seen  before  for  twenty-nine  years.  So  we  were  Hear- 
ing Honolulu,  the  capital  city  of  the  Sandwich  Islands 
— those  islands  which  to  me  were  Paradise;  a  Para- 
dise which  I  had  been  longing  all  those  years  to  see 
again.  Not  any  other  thing  in  the  world  could  have 
stirred  me  as  the  sight  of  that  great  rock  did. 

In  the  night  we  anchored  a  mile  from  sliore. 
Through  my  port  I  could  see  the  twinkling  lights  of 
Honolulu  and  the  dark  bulk  of  the  mountain-range 
that  stretched  away  right  and  left.  I  could  not 
make  out  the  beautiful  Nuuana  valley,  but  I  knew 
where  it  lay,  and  remembered  how  it  used  to  look  in 
the  old  times.  We  used  to  ride  up  it  on  horseback 
in  those  days — we  young  people — and  branch  off  and 
gather  bones  in  a  sandy  region  where  one  of  the 
first  Kamehameha's  battles  was  fought.  He  was 
a  remarkable  man,  for  a  king;  and  he  was  also  a 
remarkable  man  for  a  savage.  He  was  a  mere 
kinglet  and  of  little  or  no  consequence  at  the  time 
of  Captain  Cook's  arrival  in  1777;   but  about  four 

27 


MARK  TWAIN 


•ff^^lju^  ^XA^^FCZj'  u-^-^Jc. 


«>*UJJ  UJ 


-^5^ 


*3/!?i2tXu^  ^ct^/  ■./  jA^ 


.A^  ak.^^ro^~lL^j  a  tj^-£tit:&c^^*£^ 


<-#  ^^tuUjJ^ 


FACSIMILE  PAGE  FROM  THE  AUTHOR'S  NOTE-BOOK 
28 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

years  afterward  he  conceived  the  idea  of  enlarging 
his  sphere  of  influence.  That  is  a  courteous  mod- 
em phrase  which  means  robbing  your  neighbor— for 
your  neighbor's  benefit ;  and  the  great  theater  of  its 
benevolences  is  Africa.  Kamehameha  went  to  war, 
and  in  the  course  of  ten  years  he  whipped  out  all  the 
other  kings  and  made  himself  master  of  every  one 
of  the  nine  or  ten  islands  that  form  the  group.  But 
he  did  more  than  that.  He  bought  ships,  freighted 
them  with  sandalwood  and  other  native  products, 
and  sent  them  as  far  as  South  America  and  China; 
he  sold  to  his  savages  the  foreign  stuffs  and  tools 
and  utensils  which  came  back  in  these  ships,  and 
started  the  march  of  civilization.  It  is  doubtful  if 
the  match  to  this  extraordinary  thing  is  to  be  foimd 
in  the  history  of  any  other  savage.  Savages  are 
eager  to  learn  from  the  white  man  any  new  way  to 
kill  each  other,  but  it  is  not  their  habit  to  seize  with 
avidity  and  apply  with  energy  the  larger  and  nobler 
ideas  which  he  offers  them.  The  details  of  Kame- 
hameha's  history  show  that  he  was  always  hospitably 
ready  to  examine  the  white  man's  ideas,  and  that 
he  exercised  a  tidy  discrimination  in  making  his  se- 
lections from  the  samples  placed  on  view. 

A  shrewder  discrimination  than  was  exhibited  by 
his  son  and  successor,  Liholiho,  I  think.  Liholiho 
could  have  qualified  as  a  reformer,  perhaps,  but  as 
a  king  he  was  a  mistake.  A  mistake  because  he 
tried  to  be  both  king  and  reformer.  This  is  mixing 
fire  and  gimpowder  together.  A  king  has  no  proper 
business  with  reforming.  His  best  policy  is  to  keep 
things  as  they  are;  and  if  he  can't  do  that,  he  ought 

29 


MARK     TWAIN 

to  try  to  make  them  worse  than  they  are.  This  is 
not  guesswork;  I  have  thought  over  this  matter  a 
good  deal,  so  that  if  I  should  ever  have  a  chance  to 
become  a  king  I  would  know  how  to  conduct  the 
business  in  the  best  way. 

When  Liholiho  succeeded  his  father  he  found 
himself  possessed  of  an  equipment  of  royal  tools  and 
safeguards  which  a  wiser  king  would  have  known 
how  to  husband,  and  judiciously  employ,  and  make 
profitable.  The  entire  country  was  under  the  one 
scepter,  and  his  was  that  scepter.  There  was  an 
Established  Church,  and  he  was  the  head  of  it. 
There  was  a  Standing  Army,  and  he  was  the  head  of 
that ;  an  Army  of  one  himdred  and  fourteen  privates 
imder  command  of  twenty-seven  Generals  and  a 
Field  Marshal.  There  was  a  proud  and  ancient 
Hereditary  Nobility.  There  was  still  one  other 
asset.  This  was  the  tabu — an  agent  endowed  with 
a  mysterious  and  stupendous  power,  an  agent  not 
found  among  the  properties  of  any  European  mon- 
arch, a  tool  of  inestimable  value  in  the  business. 
Liholiho  was  headmaster  of  the  tabu.  The  tabu 
was  the  most  ingenious  and  effective  of  all  the  in- 
ventions that  had  ever  been  devised  for  keeping  a 
people's  privileges  satisfactorily  restricted. 

It  required  the  sexes  to  live  in  separate  houses. 
It  did  not  allow  people  to  eat  in  either  house;  they 
must  eat  in  another  place.  It  did  not  allow  a  man's 
women-folk  to  enter  his  house.  It  did  not  allow  the 
sexes  to  eat  together;  the  men  must  eat  first,  and 
the  women  must  wait  on  them.  Then  the  women 
could  eat  what  was  left — ^if  anything  was  left — and 

30 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

wait  on  themselves.  I  mean,  if  anything  of  a  coarse 
or  unpalatable  sort  was  left,  the  women  could  have 
it.  But  not  the  good  things,  the  fine  things,  the 
choice  things,  such  as  pork,  poultry,  bananas,  cocoa- 
nuts,  the  choicer  varieties  of  fish,  and  so  on.  By 
the  tabu,  all  these  were  sacred  to  the  men;  the 
women  spent  their  lives  longing  for  them  and  won- 
dering what  they  might  taste  like;  and  they  died 
without  finding  out. 

These  rules,  as  you  see,  were  quite  simple  and 
clear.  It  was  easy  to  remember  them;  and  useful. 
For  the  penalty  for  infringing  any  rule  in  the  whole 
list  was  death.  Those  women  easily  learned  to  put 
up  with  shark  and  taro  and  dog  for  a  diet  when 
the  other  things  were  so  expensive. 

It  was  death  for  any  one  to  walk  upon  tabu'd 
ground;  or  defile  a  tabu'd  thing  with  his  touch;  or 
fail  in  due  servility  to  a  chief;  or  step  upon  the 
king's  shadow.  The  nobles  and  the  king  and  the 
priests  were  always  suspending  little  rags  here  and 
there  and  yonder,  to  give  notice  to  the  people  that 
the  decorated  spot  or  thing  was  tabu,  and  death 
lurking  near.  The  struggle  for  life  was  difficult  and 
chancy  in  the  islands  in  those  days. 

Thus  advantageously  was  the  new  king  situated. 
Will  it  be  believed  that  the  first  thing  he  did  was  to 
destroy  his  Established  Church,  root  and  branch? 
He  did  indeed  do  that.  To  state  the  case  figura- 
tively, he  was  a  prosperous  sailor  who  burnt  his 
ship  and  took  to  a  raft.  This  Church  was  a  hor- 
rid thing.  It  heavily  oppressed  the  people ;  it  kept 
them  always  trembling  in  the  gloom  of  mysterious 

31 


MARK     TWAIN 

threatenings ;  it  slaughtered  them  in  sacrifice  before 
its  grotesque  idols  of  wood  and  stone;  it  cowed 
them,  it  terrorized  them,  it  made  them  slaves  to  its 
priests,  and  through  the  priests  to  the  king.  It  was 
the  best  friend  a  king  could  have,  and  the  most 
dependable.  To  a  professional  reformer  who  should 
annihilate  so  frightful  and  so  devastating  a  power 
as  this  Church,  reverence  and  praise  would  be  due; 
but  to  a  king  who  should  do  it,  could  properly  be 
due  nothing  but  reproach ;  reproach  softened  by  sor- 
row;  sorrow  for  his  unfitness  for  his  position. 

He  destroyed  his  Estabhshed  Church,  and  his 
kingdom  is  a  republic  to-day,  in  consequence  of 
that  act. 

When  he  destroyed  the  Church  and  burned  the 
idols  he  did  a  mighty  thing  for  civilization  and  for 
his  people's  weal — but  it  was  not  "business."  It 
was  unkingly,  it  was  inartistic.  It  made  trouble  for 
his  line.  The  American  missionaries  arrived  while 
the  burned  idols  were  still  smoking.  They  foimd 
the  nation  without  a  religion,  and  they  repaired  the 
defect.  They  offered  their  own  religion  and  it  was 
gladly  received.  But  it  was  no  support  to  arbitrary 
kingship,  and  so  the  kingly  power  began  to  weaken 
from  that  day.  Forty-seven  years  later,  when  I 
was  in  the  islands,  Kamehameha  V.  was  trying  to 
repair  Liholiho's  blunder,  and  not  succeeding.  He 
had  set  up  an  Estabhshed  Church  and  made  himself 
the  head  of  it.  But  it  was  only  a  pinchbeck  thing, 
an  imitation,  a  bauble,  an  empty  show.  It  had  no 
power,  no  value  for  a  king.  It  could  not  harry  or 
bum  or  slay,  it  in  no  way  resembled  the  admirable 

32 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

machine  which  Liholiho  destroyed.  It  was  an  Es- 
tablished Church  without  an  Establishment;  all  the 
people  were  Dissenters. 

Long  before  that,  the  kingship  had  itself  become 
but  a  name,  a  show.  At  an  early  day  the  mission- 
aries had  turned  it  into  something  very  much  like  a 
republic;  and  here  lately  the  business  whites  have 
turned  it  into  something  exactly  like  it. 

In  Captain  Cook's  time  (1778),  the  native  popula- 
tion of  the  islands  was  estimated  at  400,000;  in 
1836  at  something  short  of  200,000;  in  1866  at 
50,000;  it  is  to-day,  per  census,  25,000  All  intelli- 
gent people  praise  Kamehameha  L  and  Liholiho  for 
conferring  upon  the  people  the  great  boon  of  civiliza- 
tion. I  would  do  it  myself,  but  my  intelligence  is 
out  of  repair,  now,  from  overwork. 

When  I  was  in  the  islands  nearly  a  generation  ago, 
I  was  acquainted  with  a  young  American  couple  who 
had  among  their  belongings  an  attractive  little  son  of 
the  age  of  seven — attractive  but  not  practicably  com- 
panionable with  me,  because  he  knew  no  English. 
He  had  played  from  his  birth  with  the  little  Kanakas 
on  his  father's  plantation,  and  had  preferred  their 
language  and  would  learn  no  other.  The  family 
removed  to  America  a  month  after  I  arrived  in  the 
islands,  and  straightway  the  boy  began  to  lose  his 
Kanaka  and  pick  up  English.  By  the  time  he  was 
twelve  he  hadn't  a  word  of  Kanaka  left ;  the  language 
had  wholly  departed  from  his  tongue  and  from  his 
comprehension.  Nine  years  later,  when  he  was 
twenty-one,  I  came  upon  the  family  in  one  of  the 
lake  towns  of  New  York,  and  the  mother  told  me 

33 


MARK     TWAIN 

about  an  adventure  which  her  son  had  been  having. 
By  trade  he  was  now  a  professional  diver.  A 
passenger-boat  had  been  caught  in  a  storm  on  the 
lake,  and  had  gone  down,  carrying  her  people  with 
her.  A  few  days  later  the  young  diver  descended, 
with  his  armor  on,  and  entered  the  berth-saloon  of 
the  boat,  and  stood  at  the  foot  of  the  companionway, 
with  his  hand  on  the  rail,  peering  through  the  dim 
water.  Presently  something  touched  him  on  the 
shoulder,  and  he  turned  and  found  a  dead  man 
swaying  and  bobbing  about  him  and  seemingly 
inspecting  him  inquiringly.  He  was  paralyzed  with 
fright.  His  entry  had  disturbed  the  water,  and  now 
he  discerned  a  number  of  dim  corpses  making  for 
him  and  wagging  their  heads  and  swaying  their 
bodies  like  sleepy  people  trying  to  dance.  His 
senses  forsook  him,  and  in  that  condition  he  was 
drawn  to  the  surface.  He  was  put  to  bed  at  home, 
and  was  soon  very  ill.  Diiring  some  days  he  had 
seasons  of  deliriimi  which  lasted  several  hours  at  a 
time ;  and  while  they  lasted  he  talked  Kanaka  inces- 
santly and  gHbly;  and  Kanaka  only.  He  was  still 
very  ill,  and  he  talked  to  me  in  that  tongue;  but 
I  did  not  understand  it,  of  course.  The  doctor 
books  tell  us  that  cases  like  this  are  not  uncommon. 
Then  the  doctors  ought  to  study  the  cases  and  find 
out  how  to  multiply  them.  Many  languages  and 
things  get  mislaid  in  a  person's  head,  and  stay  mis- 
laid for  lack  of  this  remedy. 

Many  memories  of  my  former  visit  to  the  islands 
came  up  in  my  mind  while  we  lay  at  anchor  in  front 
of  Honolulu  that  night.     And  pictures — pictures — 

34 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

pictures — an  enchanting  procession  of  them!  I  was 
impatient  for  the  morning  to  come. 

When  it  came  it  brought  disappointment,  of 
course.  Cholera  had  broken  out  in  the  town,  and 
we  were  not  allowed  to  have  any  commimication 
with  the  shore.  Thus  suddenly  did  my  dream  of 
twenty-nine  years  go  to  ruin.  Messages  came  from 
friends,  but  the  friends  themselves  I  was  not  to  have 
any  sight  of.  My  lecture-hall  was  ready,  but  I  was 
not  to  see  that,  either. 

Several  of  our  passengers  belonged  in  Honolulu, 
and  these  were  sent  ashore;  but  nobody  could  go 
ashore  and  return.  There  were  people  on  shore 
who  were  booked  to  go  with  us  to  Australia,  but  we 
could  not  receive  them;  to  do  it  would  cost  us  a 
quarantine- term  in  Sydney.  They  could  have  es- 
caped the  day  before,  by  ship  to  San  Francisco; 
but  the  bars  had  been  put  up,  now,  and  they  might 
have  to  wait  weeks  before  any  ship  could  venture  to 
give  them  a  passage  any  whither.  And  there  were 
hardships  for  others.  An  elderly  lady  and  her  son, 
recreation-seekers  from  Massachusetts,  had  wandered 
westward,  further  and  further  from  home,  always 
intending  to  take  the  return  track,  but  always  con- 
cluding to  go  still  a  little  further ;  and  now  here  they 
were  at  anchor  before  Honolulu — positively  their 
last  westward-bound  indulgence — they  had  made  up 
their  minds  to  that — ^but  where  is  the  use  of  making 
up  your  mind  in  this  world?  It  is  usually  a  waste 
of  time  to  do  it.  These  two  would  have  to  stay 
with  us  as  far  as  Australia.  Then  they  could  go  on 
around  the  world,  or  go  back  the  way  they  had 

35 


MARK     TWAIN 

oome;  the  distance  and  the  accommodations  and 
outlay  of  time  would  be  just  the  same,  whichever  of 
the  two  routes  they  might  elect  to  take.  Think 
of  it:  a  projected  excursion  of  five  hundred  miles 
gradually  enlarged,  without  any  elaborate  degree  g£ 
intention,  to  a  possible  twenty-four  thousand.  How- 
ever, they  were  used  to  extensions  by  this  time,  and 
did  not  nrind  this  new  one  much. 

And  we  had  with  us  a  lawyer  from  Victoria,  who 
had  been  sent  out  by  the  Government  on  an  inter- 
national matter,  and  he  had  brought  his  wife  with 
him  and  left  the  children  at  home  with  the  servants 
— and  now ¥^iat  was  to  be  done?  Go  ashore  amongst 
the  cholera  and  take  the  risks?  Most  certainly  not. 
They  decided  to  go  on,  to  the  Fiji  Islands,  wait 
there  a  fortnight  for  the  next  ship,  and  then  sail 
for  home.  They  couldn't  foresee  that  they  wouldn't 
see  a  homeward-bound  ship  again  for  six  weeks,  and 
that  no  word  could  come  to  them  from  the  children, 
and  no  word  go  from  them  to  the  children  in  all 
that  time.  It  is  easy  to  make  plans  in  this  world ; 
even  a  cat  can  do  it;  and  when  one  is  out  in  those 
remote  oceans  it  is  noticeable  that  a  cat's  plans  and 
a  man's  are  worth  about  the  same.  There  is  much 
the  same  shrinkage  in  both,  in  the  matter  of  values. 

There  was  nothing  for  us  to  do  but  sit  about  the 
decks  in  the  shade  of  the  awnings  and  look  at  the 
distant  shore.  We  lay  in  luminous  blue  water; 
shoreward  the  water  was  green — green  and  brilliant; 
at  the  shore  itself  it  broke  in  a  long  white  ruffle,  and 
with  no  crash,  no  sound  that  we  could  hear.  The 
town  was  buried  under  a  mat  of  foliage  that  looked 

^.6 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

like  a  cushion  of  moss.  The  silky  mountains  were 
clothed  in  soft,  rich  splendors  of  melting  color,  and 
some  of  the  cliffs  were  veiled  in  slanting  mists.  I 
recognized  it  all.  It  was  just  as  I  had  seen  it  long 
before,  mth  nothing  of  its  beauty  lost,  nothing  of 
its  charm  wanting. 

A  change  had  come,  but  that  was  political,  and 
not  visible  from  the  ship.  The  monarchy  of  my 
day  was  gone,  and  a  republic  was  sitting  in  its  seat. 
It  was  not  a  material  change.  The  old  imitation 
pomps,  the  fuss  and  feathers,  have  departed,  and 
the  royal  trade-mark — ^that  is  about  aU  that  one 
could  miss,  I  suppose.  That  imitation  monarchy 
was  grotesque  enough,  in  my  time;  if  it  had  held 
on  another  thirt^^  3'ears  it  would  have  been  a  mon- 
archy without  subjects  of  the  king's  race. 

TVe  had  a  simset  of  a  very  fine  sort.  The  vast 
plain  of  the  sea  was  marked  off  in  bands  of  sharply 
contrasted  colors;  great  stretches  of  dark  blue,  others 
of  piuple,  others  of  poHshed  bronze;  the  billowy 
mountains  showed  all  sorts  of  dainty  browns  and 
greens,  blues  and  purples  and  blacks,  and  the 
roimded  velvety  backs  of  certain  of  them  made  one 
want  to  stroke  them,  as  one  would  the  sleek  back 
of  a  cat.  The  long,  sloping  promontory  projecting 
into  the  sea  at  the  west  turned  dim  and  leaden  and 
spectral,  then  became  suffused  with  pink — dissolved 
itself  into  a  pink  dream,  so  to  speak,  it  seemed  so  ain^ 
and  imreal.  Presently  the  cloud-rack  was  flooded 
with  fiery  splendors,  and  these  were  copied  on  the 
surface  of  the  sea,  and  it  made  one  drunk  with 
delight  to  look  upon  it. 

37 


MARK     TWAIN 

From  talks  with  certain  of  our  passengers  whose! 
home  was  Honolulu,  and  from  a  sketch  by  Mrs. 
Mary  H.  Krout,  I  was  able  to  perceive  what  the 
Honolulu  of  to-day  is,  as  compared  with  the  Hono- 
lulu of  my  time.  In  my  time  it  was  a  beautiful  little 
town,  made  up  of  snow-white  wooden  cottages  deli- 
ciously  smothered  in  tropical  vines  and  flowers  and 
trees  and  shrubs;  and  its  coral  roads  and  streets 
were  hard  and  smooth,  and  as  white  as  the  houses. 
The  outside  aspects  of  the  place  suggested  the  pres- 
ence of  a  modest  and  comfortable  prosperity  —  a 
general  prosperity — perhaps  one  might  strengthen 
the  term  and  say  imiversal.  There  were  no  fine 
houses,  no  fine  furniture.  There  were  no  decora- 
tions. Tallow  candles  furnished  the  light  for  the 
bedrooms,  a  whale-oil  lamp  furnished  it  for  the  par- 
lor. Native  matting  served  as  carpeting.  In  the 
parlor  one  would  find  two  or  three  lithographs  on 
the  walls  —  portraits  as  a  nile:  Kamehameha  IV., 
Louis  Kossuth,  Jenny  Lind;  and  maybe  an  en- 
graving or  two:  "Rebecca  at  the  Well,"  "Moses 
Smiting  the  Rock,"  "Joseph's  Servants  Finding  the 
Cup  in  Benjamin's  Sack."  There  would  be  a  center- 
table  with  books  of  a  tranquil  sort  on  it:  The 
Whole  Duty  of  Man,  Baxter's  Saints*  Rest,  Fox's 
Martyrs y  Tupper's  Proverbial  Philosophy ,  bound 
copies  of  The  Missionary  Herald  and  of  Father 
Damien's  Seaman's  Friend.  A  melodeon;  a  music- 
stand,  with  "Willie,  We  Have  Missed  You,"  "Star 
of  the  Evening,"  "Roll  on,  Silver  Moon,"  "Are  We 
Most  There?"  "I  Would  Not  Live  Alway,"  and 
other  songs  of  love  and  sentiment,  together  with 

38 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

an  assortment  of  hymns.  A  what-not  with  semi- 
globular  glass  paper-weights,  inclosing  miniature 
pictures  of  ships,  New  England  rural  snow-storms, 
and  the  like;  sea-shells  with  Bible  texts  carved  on 
them  in  cameo  style;  native  curios;  whale's  tooth 
with  full-rigged  ship  carved  on  it.  There  was 
nothing  reminiscent  of  foreign  parts,  for  nobody  had 
been  abroad.  Trips  were  made  to  San  Francisco, 
but  that  could  not  be  called  going  abroad.  Com- 
prehensively speaking,  nobody  traveled. 

But  Honolulu  has  grown  wealthy  since  then,  and 
of  course  wealth  has  introduced  changes;  some  of 
the  old  simplicities  have  disappeared.  Here  is  a 
modem  house,  as  pictured  by  Mrs.  Krout : 

Almost  every  house  is  surrounded  by  extensive  lawns  and 
gardens  inclosed  by  walls  of  volcanic  stone  or  by  thick  hedges 
of  the  brilliant  hibiscus. 

The  houses  are  most  tastefully  and  comfortably  furnished; 
the  floors  are  of  hard  wood  covered  either  with  rugs  or  with  fine 
Indian  matting,  while  there  is  a  preference,  as  in  most  warm 
countries,  for  rattan  or  bamboo  furniture;  there  are  the  usual 
accessories  of  bric-^-brac,  pictures,  books,  and  curios  from  all 
parts  of  the  world,  for  these  island-dwellers  are  indefatigable 
travelers. 

Nearly  every  house  has  what  is  called  a  lanai.  It  is  a  large 
apartment,  roofed,  floored,  open  on  three  sides,  with  a  door  or  a 
draped  archway  opening  into  the  drawing-room.  Frequently 
the  roof  is  formed  by  the  thick  interlacing  boughs  of  the  hou  tree, 
impervious  to  the  sun  and  even  to  the  rain,  except  in  violent 
storms.  Vines  are  trained  about  the  sides — the  stephanotis  or 
some  one  of  the  countless  fragrant  and  blossoming  trailers  which 
abound  in  the  islands.  There  are  also  curtains  of  matting  that 
may  be  drawn  to  exclude  the  sun  or  rain.  The  floor  is  bare  for 
coolness,  or  partially  covered  with  rugs,  and  the  lanai  is  prettily 
furnished  with  comfortable  chairs,  sofas,  and  tables  loaded  with 
flowers,  or  wonderful  ferns  in  pots. 

39 


MARK     TWAIN 

The  lauai  is  the  favorite  reception-room,  and  here  at  any 
social  function  the  musical  program  is  given,  and  cakes  and  ices 
are  served;  here  morning  callers  are  received,  or  gay  riding 
parties,  the  ladies  in  pretty  divided  skirts,  worn  for  convenience 
in  riding  astride — the  universal  mode  adopted  by  Europeans 
and  Americans,  as  well  as  by  the  natives. 

The  comfort  and  luxury  of  such  an  apartment,  especially  at 
a  seashore  villa,  can  hardly  be  imagined.  The  soft  breezes  swept 
across  it,  heavy  with  the  fragrance  of  jasmine  and  gardenia,  and 
through  the  swaying  boughs  of  palm  and  mimosa  there  are 
glimpses  of  rugged  mountains,  their  simimits  veiled  in  clouds, 
of  purple  sea  with  white  surf  beating  eternally  against  the  reefs 
— whiter  still  in  the  yellow  sunlight  or  the  magical  moonlight 
of  the  tropics. 

There:  rugs,  ices,  pictures,  lanais,  worldly  books, 
sinful  bric-^-brac  fetched  from  everywhere.  And 
the  ladies  riding  astride.  These  are  changes,  indeed. 
In  my  time  the  native  women  rode  astride,  but  the 
white  ones  lacked  the  courage  to  adopt  their  wise 
custom.  In  my  time  ice  was  seldom  seen  in  Hon- 
olulu. It  sometimes  came  in  sailing-vessels  from 
New  England  as  ballast;  and  then,  if  there  hap- 
pened to  be  a  man-of-war  in  port  and  balls  and  sup- 
pers raging  by  consequence,  the  ballast  was  worth 
six  himdred  dollars  a  ton,  as  is  evidenced  by  repu- 
table tradition.  But  the  ice-machine  has  traveled  all 
over  the  world,  now,  and  brought  ice  within  every- 
body's reach.  In  Lapland  and  Spitzbergen  no  one 
uses  native  ice  in  our  day,  except  the  bears  and  the 
walruses. 

The  bicycle  is  not  mentioned.  It  was  not  neces- 
sary. We  know  that  it  is  there,  without  inquiring. 
It  is  everyijvhere.  But  for  it,  people  could  never 
have  had  summer  homes  on  the  summit  of  Mont 

40 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

Blanc;  before  its  day,  property  up  there  had  but  a 
nominal  value.  The  ladies  of  the  Hawaiian  capital 
learned  too  late  the  right  way  to  occupy  a  horse — 
too  late  to  get  much  benefit  from  it.  The  riding- 
horse  is  retiring  from  business  everywhere  in  the 
world.  In  Honolulu  a  few  years  from  now  he  will 
be  only  a  tradition. 

We  all  know  about  Father  Damien,  the  French 
priest  who  voluntarily  forsook  the  world  and  went  to 
the  leper  island  of  Molokai  to  labor  among  its  popu- 
lation of  sorrowful  exiles  who  wait  there,  in  slow- 
consuming  misery,  for  death  to  come  and  release 
them  from  their  troubles,  and  we  know  that  the 
thing  which  he  knew  beforehand  would  happen,  did 
happen:  that  he  became  a  leper  himself,  and  died 
of  that  horrible  disease.  There  was  still  another  case 
of  self-sacrifice,  it  appears.  I  asked  after  "Billy" 
Ragsdale,  interpreter  to  the  Parliament  in  my  time — 
a  half -white.  He  was  a  brilliant  yoimg  fellow,  and 
very  popular.  As  an  interpreter  he  would  have  been 
hard  to  match  an3rwhere.  He  used  to  stand  up  in 
the  ParHament  and  turn  the  English  speeches  into 
Hawaiian  and  the  Hawaiian  speeches  into  EngHsh 
with  a  readiness  and  a  volubility  that  were  astonish- 
ing. I  asked  after  him,  and  was  told  that  his  prosper- 
ous career  was  cut  short  in  a  sudden  and  unexpected 
way,  just  as  he  was  about  to  marry  a  beautiful  half- 
caste  girl.  He  discovered,  by  some  nearly  invisible 
sign  about  his  skin,  that  the  poison  of  leprosy  was  in 
him.  The  secret  was  his  own,  and  might  be  kept 
concealed  for  years ;  but  he  would  not  be  treacher- 
ous to  the  girl  that  loved  him;    he  would  not  marry 

41 


MARK     TWAIN 

her  to  a  doom  like  his.  And  so  he  put  his  affairs  in 
order,  and  went  around  to  all  his  friends  and  bade 
them  good-by,  and  sailed  in  the  leper  ship  to  Molokai. 
There  he  died  the  loathsome  and  lingering  death 
that  all  lepers  die. 

In  this  place  let  me  insert  a  paragraph  or  two 
from  The  Paradise  of  the  Pacific  (Rev.  H.  H.  Gowen) : 

Poor  lepers!  It  is  easy  for  those  who  have  no  relatives  or 
friends  among  them  to  enforce  the  decree  of  segregation  to  the 
letter,  but  who  can  write  of  the  terrible,  the  heartbreaking 
scenes  which  that  enforcement  has  brought  about? 

A  man  upon  Hawaii  was  suddenly  taken  away  after  a  sum- 
mary arrest,  leaving  behind  him  a  helpless  wife  about  to  give 
birth  to  a  babe.  The  devoted  wife  with  great  pain  and  risk 
came  the  whole  journey  to  Honolulu,  and  pleaded  until  the  au- 
thorities were  unable  to  resist  her  entreaty  that  she  might  go 
and  live  like  a  leper  with  her  leper  husband. 

A  woman  in  the  prime  of  life  and  activity  is  condemned  as  an 
incipient  leper,  suddenly  removed  from  her  home,  and  her  hus- 
band returns  to  find  his  two  helpless  babes  moaning  for  their 
lost  mother. 

Imagine  it!  The  case  of  the  babies  is  hard,  but  its  bitterness 
is  a  trifle — less  than  a  trifle — less  than  nothing — compared  to 
what  the  mother  must  suffer;  and  suffer  minute  by  minute,  hour 
by  hour,  day  by  day,  month  by  month,  year  by  year,  without 
respite,  relief,  or  any  abatement  of  her  pain  till  she  dies. 

One  woman,  Luka  Kaaiikau,  has  been  living  with  her  leper 
husband  in  the  settlement  for  twelve  years.  The  man  has 
scarcely  a  joint  left,  his  limbs  are  only  distorted  ulcerated  stumpc, 
for  four  years  his  wife  has  put  every  particle  of  food  into  his 
mouth.  He  wanted  his  wife  to  abandon  his  wretched  carcass 
long  ago,  as  she  herself  was  sound  and  well,  but  Luka  said  that 
she  was  content  to  remain  and  wait  on  the  man  she  loved  till 
the  spirit  should  be  freed  from  its  burden. 

I  myself  have  known  hard  cases  enough :  of  a  girl,  apparently 
in  full  health,  decorating  the  church  with  me  at  Easter,  who 
before  Christmas  is  taken  away  as  a  confirmed  leper;  of  a 
mother  hiding  her  child  in  the  mountains  for  years  so  that  not 

42 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

even  her  dearest  friends  knew  that  she  had  a  child  alive,  that  he 
might  not  be  taken  away;  of  a  respectable  white  man  taken 
away  from  his  wife  and  family,  and  compelled  to  become  a 
dweller  in  the  Leper  Settlement,  where  he  is  coimted  dead,  even 
by  the  insurance  companies. 

And  one  great  pity  of  it  all  is,  that  these  poor 
sufferers  are  innocent.  The  leprosy  does  not  come 
of  sins  which  they  committed,  but  of  sins  committed 
by  their  ancestors,  who  escaped  the  curse  of  leprosy! 

Mr.  Gowen  has  made  record  of  a  certain  very 
striking  circumstance.  Would  you  expect  to  find  in 
that  awful  Leper  Settlement  a  custom  worthy  to  be 
transplanted  to  your  own  country?  They  have  one 
such,  and  it  is  inexpressibly  touching  and  beautiful. 
When  death  sets  open  the  prison  door  of  life  there, 
the  band  salutes  the  freed  soul  with  a  burst  of  glad 
music  1 


% 


CHAPTER  IV 

I  LOSE  AT   "horse  BILLIARDS** 

A  dozen  direct  censures  are  easier  to  bear  than  one  morganatic  compliment. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

SAILED  from  Honolulu.     From  diary: 
Sept.  2.     Flocks  of  flying-fish — slim,  shapely, 
graceful,   and  intensely  white.     With  the  stin  on 
them  they  look  like  a  flight  of  silver  fruit-knives. 
They  are  able  to  fly  a  hundred  yards. 

Sept.  J.  In  9°  50'  north  latitude,  at  breakfast. 
Approaching  the  equator  on  a  long  slant.  Those 
of  us  who  have  never  seen  the  equator  are  a  good 
deal  excited.  I  think  I  would  rather  see  it  than  any 
other  thing  in  the  world.  We  entered  the  **dol- 
dnmis"  last  night — variable  winds,  biu*sts  of  rain, 
intervals  of  calm,  with  chopping  seas  and  a  wobbly 
and  drunken  motion  to  the  ship — a  condition  of 
things  findable  in  other  regions  sometimes,  but  pres- 
ent in  the  doldrums  always.  The  globe-girdling  belt 
called  the  doldrums  is  twenty  degrees  wide,  and  the 
thread  called  the  equator  Hes  along  the  middle  of  it. 

Sept.  4.  Total  ecHpse  of  the  moon  last  night.  At 
seven-thirty  it  began  to  go  off.  At  total — or  about 
that — it  was  like  a  rich  rosy  cloud  with  a  tumbled 
surface  framed  in  the  circle  and  projecting  from  it — 
a  bulge  of  strawberry-ice,  so  to  speak.  At  half- 
ecHpse  the  moon  was  like  a  gilded  acorn  in  its  cup. 

Sept.  5.    Closing  in  on  the  equator  this  noon.     A 

44 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

sailor  explained  to  a  young  girl  that  the  ship's  speed 
is  poor  because  we  are  climbing  up  the  bulge  toward 
the  center  of  the  globe;  but  that  when  we  should 
once  get  over,  at  the  equator,  and  start  downhill, 
we  should  fly.  When  she  asked  him  the  other  day 
what  the  foreyard  was,  he  said  it  was  the  front 
yard,  the  open  area  in  the  front  end  of  the  ship. 
That  man  has  a  good  deal  of  learning  stored  up, 
and  the  girl  is  likely  to  get  it  all. 

Afternoon.  Crossed  the  equator.  In  the  distance 
it  looked  like  a  blue  ribbon  stretched  across  the 
ocean.  Several  passengers  kodak'd  it.  We  had  no 
fool  ceremonies,  no  fantastics,  no  horse-play.  All 
that  sort  of  thing  has  gone  out.  In  old  times  a 
sailor,  dressed  as  Neptune,  used  to  come  in  over  the 
bows,  with  his  suite,  and  lather  up  and  shave  every- 
body who  was  crossing  the  equator  for  the  first 
time,  and  then  cleanse  these  unfortunates  by  swing- 
ing them  from  the  yard-arm  and  ducking  them  three 
times  in  the  sea.  This  was  considered  funny.  No- 
body knows  why.  No,  that  is  not  true.  We  do 
know  why.  Such  a  thing  could  never  be  funny  on 
land;  no  part  of  the  old-time  grotesque  perform- 
ances gotten  up  on  shipboard  to  celebrate  the  pas- 
sage of  the  line  could  ever  be  funny  on  shore — 
they  would  seem  dreary  and  witless  to  shore  people. 
But  the  shore  people  would  change  their  minds 
about  it  at  sea,  on  a  long  voyage.  On  such  a  voy- 
age, with  its  eternal  monotonies,  people's  intellects 
deteriorate;  the  owners  of  the  intellects  soon  reach 
a  point  where  they  almost  seem  to  prefer  childish 
things  to  things  of  a  maturer  degree.     One  is  often 

45 


MARK     TWAIN 

surprised  at  the  juvenilities  which  grown  people 
indulge  in  at  sea,  and  the  interest  they  take  in  them, 
and  the  consuming  enjoyment  they  get  out  of  them. 
This  is  on  long  voyages  only.  The  mind  gradually 
becomes  inert,  dull,  blunted;  it  loses  its  accustomed 
interest  in  intellectual  things;  nothing  but  horse- 
play can  rouse  it,  nothing  but  wild  and  foolish 
grotesqueries  can  entertain  it.  On  short  voyages  it 
makes  no  such  exposure  of  itself;  it  hasn't  time  to 
slump  down  to  this  sorrowful  level. 

The  short-voyage  passenger  gets  his  chief  physical 
exercise  out  of  "horse-billiards" — shovel-board.  It 
is  a  good  game.  We  play  it  in  this  ship.  A  quarter- 
master chalks  off  a  diagram  like  this — on  the  deck. 
(See  next  page.) 

The  player  uses  a  cue  that  is  like  a  broom-handle 
with  a  quarter-moon  of  wood  fastened  to  the  end  of 
it.  With  this  he  shoves  wooden  disks  the  size  of  a 
saucer — he  gives  the  disk  a  vigorous  shove  and  sends 
it  fifteen  or  twenty  feet  along  the  deck  and  lands 
it  in  one  of  the  squares  if  he  can.  If  it  stays  there 
till  the  inning  is  played  out,  it  will  coimt  as  many 
points  in  the  game  as  the  figure  in  the  square  it  has 
stopped  in  represents.  The  adversary  plays  to 
knock  that  disk  out  and  leave  his  own  in  its  place — 
particularly  if  it  rests  upon  the  9  or  10  or  some 
other  of  the  high  numbers;  but  if  it  rests  in  the 
**io-off"  he  backs  it  up — lands  his  disk  behind  it 
a  foot  or  two,  to  make  it  difficult  for  its  owner  to 
knock  it  out  of  that  damaging  place  and  improve 
his  record.  When  the  inning  is  played  out  it  may 
be  found  that  each  adversary  has  placed  his  four 

46 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 


HORSE-BILLIARDS 


10 


disks  where  they  count ;  it  may  be  f oiind  that  some 
of  them  are  touching  chalk-lines  and  not  counting; 
and  very  often  it  will  be  found  that  there  has  been  a 
general  wreckage,  and  that  not  a  disk  has  been  left 
within  the  dia- 
gram. Anyway, 
the  result  is  re- 
corded, whatever 
it  is,  and  the 
game  goes  on. 
The  game  is  one 
himdred  points, 
and  it  takes  from 
twenty  minutes 
to  forty  to  play 
it,  according  to 
luck  and  the  con- 
dition of  the  sea. 
It  is  an  exciting 
game,  and  the 
crowd  of  spec- 
tators furnish 
abundance  of  ap- 
plause for  fortu- 
nate shots  and 
plenty  of  laugh- 
ter for  the  oth- 
er kind.     It  is  a 

game  of  skill,  but  at  the  same  time  the  uneasy  mo- 
tion of  the  ship  is  constantly  interfering  with  skill; 
this  makes  it  a  chancy  game,  and  the  element  of 
luck  comes  largely  in. 

47 


8 

1 

6 

3 

S 

7 

4 

9 

2 

10  off 


DIAGRAM 


MARK     TWAIN 

We  had  a  couple  of  grand  tournaments,  to  deter- 
mine who  should  be  "Champion  of  the  Pacific": 
they  included  among  the  participants  nearly  all  the 
passengers,  of  both  sexes,  and  the  officers  of  the  ship, 
and  they  afforded  many  days  of  stupendous  interest 
and  excitement,  and  murderous  exercise — for  horse- 
billiards  is  a  physically  violent  game. 

The  figures  in  the  following  record  of  some  of 
the  closing  games  in  the  first  tournament  will  show, 
better  than  any  description,  how  very  chancy  the 
game  is.  The  losers  here  represented  had  all  been 
winners  in  the  previous  games  of  the  series,  some  of 
them  by  fine  majorities : 


Chase, 

1 02 

Mrs.  D., 

57 

Mortimer,  105 

The  Surgeon, 

92 

Miss  C, 

105 

Mrs.  T., 

9 

Clemens,     loi 

Taylor, 

92 

Taylor, 

109 

Davies, 

95 

Miss  C,      108 

Mort.imer, 

55 

Thomas, 

102 

Roper, 

76 

Clemens,     1 1 1 

Miss  C, 

89 

Coomber, 

106 

Chase, 

98 

And  so  on;  until  but  three  couples  of  winners 
were  left.  Then  I  beat  my  man,  yoimg  Smith  beat 
his  man,  and  Thomas  beat  his.  This  reduced  the 
combatants  to  three.  Smith  and  I  took  the  deck, 
and  I  led  off.  At  the  close  of  the  first  inning  I  was 
10  worse  than  nothing  and  Smith  had  vscored  7. 
The  luck  continued  against  me.  When  I  was  57, 
Smith  was  97 — within  3  of  out.  The  luck  changed 
then.  He  picked  up  a  lo-off  or  so,  and  couldn*t 
recover.     I  beat  him. 

The  next  game  would  end  tournament  No.  i. 

Mr.  Thomas  and  I  were  the  contestants.  He  won 
the  lead  and  went  to  the  bat — so  to  speak.  And 
there  he  stood,  with  the  crotch  of  his  cue  resting 

48 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

against  his  disk  while  the  ship  rose  slowly  up,  sank 
slowly  down,  rose  again,  sank  again.  She  never 
seemed  to  rise  to  suit  him  exactly.  She  started  up 
once  more;  and  when  she  was  nearly  ready  for  the 
turn,  he  let  drive  and  landed  his  disk  just  within 
the  left-hand  end  of  the  lo.  [Applause.]  The 
umpire  proclaimed  '*a  good  lo,"  and  the  game- 
keeper set  it  down.  I  played:  my  disk  grazed  the 
edge  of  Mr.  Thomas's  disk,  and  went  out  of  the 
diagram.     [Applause.] 

Mr.  Thomas  played  again — and  landed  his  second 
disk  alongside  of  the  first,  and  almost  touching  its 
right-hand  side.     "Good  lo."    [Great  applause.] 

I  played,  and  missed  both  of  them.    [No  applause.] 

Mr.  Thomas  delivered  his  third  shot  and  landed 
his  disk  just  at  the  right  of  the  other  two.  "Good 
lo."     [Immense  applause.] 

There  they  lay,  side  by  side,  the  three  in  a  row. 
It  did  not  seem  possible  that  anybody  could  miss 
them.     Still  I  did  it.     [Immense  silence.] 

Mr.  Thomas  played  his  last  disk.  It  seems  in- 
credible, but  he  actually  landed  that  disk  alongside 
of  the  others,  and  just  to  the  right  of  them — a 
straight  solid  row  of  four  disks.  [Tumultuous  and 
long-continued  applause.] 

Then  I  played  my  last  disk.  Again  it  did  not 
seem  possible  that  anybody  could  miss  that  row— a 
row  which  wotdd  have  been  fourteen  inches  long  if  the 
disks  had  been  clamped  together;  whereas,  with  the 
spaces  separating  them  they  made  a  longer  row  than 
that.  But  I  did  it.  It  may  be  that  I  was  getting 
nervous. 

49 


MARK     TWAIN 

I  think  it  unlikely  that  that  inning  has  ever  had 
its  parallel  in  the  history  of  horse-billiards.  To 
place  the  four  disks  side  by  side  in  the  lo  was  an 
extraordinary  feat ;  indeed,  it  was  a  kind  of  miracle. 
To  miss  them  was  another  miracle.  It  will  take  a 
century  to  produce  another  man  who  can  place  the 
four  disks  in  the  lo;  and  longer  than  that  to  find  a 
man  who  can't  knock  them  out.  I  was  ashamed  of 
my  performance  at  the  time,  but  now  that  I  reflect 
upon  it  I  see  that  it  was  rather  fine  and  difficult. 

Mr.  Thomas  kept  his  luck,  and  won  the  game, 
and  later  the  championship. 

In  a  minor  tournament  I  won  the  prize,  which 
was  a  Waterbury  watch.  I  put  it  in  my  trunk.  In 
Pretoria,  South  Africa,  nine  months  afterward,  my 
proper  watch  broke  down  and  I  took  the  Waterbury 
out,  wound  it,  set  it  by  the  great  clock  on  the 
Parliament  House  (8.05),  then  went  back  to  my 
room  and  went  to  bed,  tired  from  a  long  railway 
journey.  The  parliamentary  clock  had  a  peculiarity 
which  I  was  not  aware  of  at  the  time — a  peculiarity 
which  exists  in  no  other  clock,  and  would  not  exist 
in  that  one  if  it  had  been  made  by  a  sane  person; 
on  the  half -hour  it  strikes  the  succeeding  hour,  then 
strikes  the  hour  again  at  the  proper  time.  I  lay 
reading  and  smoking  awhile;  then,  when  I  could 
hold  my  eyes  open  no  longer  and  was  about  to  put 
out  the  light,  the  great  clock  began  to  boom,  and  I 
counted — ten.  I  reached  for  the  Waterbury  to  see 
how  it  was  getting  along.  It  was  marking  nine- 
thirty.  It  seemed  rather  poor  speed  for  a  three-dollar 
watch,  but  I  supposed  that  the  climate  was  affecting 

50 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

it.  I  shoved  it  half  an  hour  ahead,  and  took  to  my 
book  and  waited  to  see  what  would  happen.  At  ten 
the  great  clock  struck  ten  again.  I  looked — the 
Waterbury  was  marking  half  past  ten.  This  was 
too  much  speed  for  the  money,  and  it  troubled  me. 
I  pushed  the  hands  back  a  half-hour,  and  waited 
once  more;  I  had  to,  for  I  was  vexed  and  restless 
now,  and  my  sleepiness  was  gone.  By  and  by  the 
great  clock  struck  eleven.  The  Waterbury  was 
marking  ten-thirty.  I  pushed  it  ahead  half  an  hour, 
with  some  show  of  temper.  By  and  by  the  great 
clock  struck  eleven  again.  The  Waterbury  showed 
up  eleven-thirty,  now,  and  I  beat  her  brains  out 
against  the  bedstead.  I  was  sorry  next  day,  when 
I  found  out. 

To  return  to  the  ship. 

The  average  human  being  is  a  perverse  creature; 
and  when  he  isn't  that,  he  is  a  practical  joker.  The 
result  to  the  other  person  concerned  is  about  the 
same:  that  is,  he  is  made  to  suffer.  The  washing 
down  of  the  decks  begins  at  a  very  early  hour  in 
all  ships;  in  but  few  ships  are  any  measures  taken 
to  protect  the  passengers,  either  by  waking  or  warn- 
ing them,  or  by  sending  a  steward  to  close  their 
ports.  And  so  the  deck-washers  have  their  oppor- 
tunity, and  they  use  it.  They  send  a  bucket  of 
water  slashing  along  the  side  of  the  ship  and  into 
the  ports,  drenching  the  passenger's  clothes,  and 
often  the  passenger  himself.  This  good  old  custom 
prevailed  in  this  ship,  and  under  unusually  favorable 
circumstances,  for  in  the  blazing  tropical  regions  a 
removable  zinc  thing  like  a  sugar-shovel  projects 

51 


MARK     TWAIN 

from  the  port  to  catch  the  wind  and  bring  it  in; 
this  thing  catches  the  wash- water  and  brings  it  in, 
too — and  in  flooding  abundance.  Mrs.  I.,  an  invahd, 
had  to  sleep  on  the  locker-sofa  tinder  her  port,  and 
every  time  she  overslept  and  thus  failed  to  take 
care  of  herself,  the  deck -washers  drowned  her 
out. 

And  the  painters,  what  a  good  time  they  had! 
This  ship  would  be  going  into  dock  for  a  month  in 
Sydney  for  repairs;  but  no  matter,  painting  was 
going  on  all  the  time  somewhere  or  other.  The 
ladies'  dresses  were  constantly  getting  ruined,  never- 
theless protests  and  supplications  went  for  nothing. 
Sometimes  a  lady,  taking  an  afternoon  nap  on  deck 
near  a  ventilator  or  some  other  thing  that  didn't 
need  painting,  would  wake  up  by  and  by  and 
find  that  the  humorous  painter  had  been  noise- 
lessly daubing  that  thing  and  had  splattered  her 
white  gown  all  over  with  little  greasy  yellow 
spots. 

The  blame  for  this  untimely  painting  did  not  lie 
with  the  ship's  officers,  but  with  custom.  As  far 
back  as  Noah's  time  it  became  law  that  ships  must 
be  constantly  painted  and  fussed  at  when  at  sea; 
custom  grew  out  of  the  law,  and  at  sea  custom 
knows  no  death ;  this  custom  will  continue  imtil  the 
sea  goes  dry. 

Sept.  8 — Sunday.  We  are  moving  so  nearly  south 
that  we  cross  only  about  two  meridians  of  longitude 
a  day.  This  morning  we  were  in  longitude  178 
west  from  Greenwich,  and  57  degrees  west  from  San 
Francisco.     To-morrow  we   shall  be  close  to  the 

52 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

center  of  the  globe — the  i8oth  degree  of  west  longi- 
tude and  i8oth  degree  of  east  longitude. 

And  then  we  must  drop  out  a  day — lose  a  day 
out  of  our  lives,  a  day  never  to  be  found  again.  We 
shall  all  die  one  day  earlier  than  from  the  beginning 
of  time  we  were  foreordained  to  die.  We  shall  be 
a  day  behindhand  all  through  eternity.  We  shall 
always  be  saying  to  the  other  angels,  "Fine  day  to- 
day," and  they  will  be  always  retorting,  "But  it 
isn't  to-day,  it's  to-morrow."  We  shall  be  in  a 
state  of  confusion  all  the  time  and  shall  never  know 
what  true  happiness  is. 

Next  Day.  Sure  enough,  it  has  happened.  Yes- 
terday it  was  September  8th,  Sunday;  to-day,  per 
the  bulletin-board  at  the  head  of  the  companion- 
way,  it  is  September  loth,  Tuesday.  There  is  some- 
thing imcanny  about  it.  And  imcomfortable.  In 
fact,  nearly  unthinkable,  and  wholly  unrealizable, 
when  one  comes  to  consider  it.  While  we  were 
crossing  the  i8oth  meridian  it  was  Sunday  in  the 
stem  of  the  ship  where  my  family  were,  and  Tuesday 
in  the  bow  where  I  was.  They  were  there  eating 
the  half  of  a  fresh  apple  on  the  8th,  and  I  was  at 
the  same  time  eating  the  other  half  of  it  on  the 
loth — and  I  could  notice  how  stale  it  was,  already. 
The  family  were  the  same  age  that  they  were  when 
I  had  left  them  five  minutes  before,  but  I  was  a  day 
older  now  than  I  was  then.  The  day  they  were 
living  in  stretched  behind  them  half-way  round  the 
globe,  across  the  Pacific  Ocean  and  America  and 
Europe;  the  day  I  was  living  in  stretched  in  front 
of  me  around  the  other  half  to  meet  it.     They  were 

53 


MARK     TWAIN 

stupendous  days  for  bulk  and  stretch;  apparently 
much  larger  days  than  we  had  ever  been  in  before. 
All  previous  days  had  been  but  shrunk-up  little 
things  by  comparison.  The  difference  in  tempera- 
ture between  the  two  days  was  very  marked,  their 
day  being  hotter  than  mine  because  it  was  closer  to 
the  equator. 

Along  about  the  moment  that  we  were  crossing 
the  Great  Meridian  a  child  was  bom  in  the  steerage, 
and  now  there  is  no  way  to  tell  which  day  it  was 
bom  on.  The  nurse  thinks  it  was  Sunday,  the 
surgeon  thinks  it  was  Tuesday.  The  child  will 
never  know  its  own  birthday.  It  will  always  be 
choosing  first  one  and  then  the  other,  and  will  never 
be  able  to  make  up  its  mind  permanently.  This 
will  breed  vacillation  and  imcertainty  in  its  opinions 
about  religion,  and  politics,  and  business,  and  sweet- 
hearts, and  everything,  and  will  undermine  its  prin- 
ciples, and  rot  them  away,  and  make  the  poor  thing 
characterless,  and  its  success  in  life  impossible. 
Every  one  in  the  ship  says  so.  And  this  is  not  all — 
in  fact,  not  the  worst.  For  there  is  an  enormously 
rich  brewer  in  the  ship  who  said  as  much  as  ten 
days  ago  that  if  the  child  was  bom  on  his  birthday 
he  would  give  it  ten  thousand  dollars  to  start  its 
little  life  with.  His  birthday  was  Monday,  the  gth 
of  September. 

If  the  ships  all  moved  in  the  one  direction — 
westward,  I  mean — the  world  would  suffer  a  pro- 
digious loss  in  the  matter  of  valuable  time,  through 
the  dimiping  overboard  on  the  Great  Meridian  of 
such  multitudes  of  days  by  ships'  crews  and  passen- 

54 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

gers.  But,  fortiinately,  the  ships  do  not  all  sail  west, 
half  of  them  sail  east.  So  there  is  no  real  loss. 
These  latter  pick  up  all  the  discarded  days  and  add 
them  to  the  world's  stock  again;  and  about  as  good 
as  new,  too;  for  of  course  the  salt-water  preserves 
them. 


CHAPTER  V 

"recruiting"   laborers OR   SLAVERY? 

Noise  proves  nothing.     Often  a  hen  who  has  merely  laid  an  egg  cackles  as  If 
she  had  laid  an  asteroid. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

WEDNESDAY,  Sept.  ii.  In  this  world  we 
often  make  mistakes  of  judgment.  We  do 
not,  as  a  rule,  get  out  of  them  sound  and  whole,  but 
sometimes  we  do.  At  dinner  yesterday  evening — 
present,  a  mixture  of  Scotch,  English,  American, 
Canadian,  and  Australasian  folk — a  discussion  broke 
out  about  the  pronunciation  of  certain  Scottish  words. 
This  was  private  ground,  and  the  non-Scotch  nation- 
alities, with  one  exception,  discreetly  kept  still. 
But  I  am  not  discreet,  and  I  took  a  hand.  I  didn't 
know  anything  about  the  subject,  but  I  took  a  hand 
just  to  have  something  to  do.  At  that  moment 
the  word  in  dispute  was  the  word  three.  One 
Scotchman  was  claiming  that  the  peasantry  of  Scot- 
land pronounced  it  three,  his  adversaries  claimed 
that  they  didn't — that  they  pronounced  it  thraw. 
The  solitary  Scot  was  having  a  sultry  time  of  it, 
so  I  thought  I  would  enrich  him  with  my  help. 
In  my  position  I  was  necessarily  quite  impartial, 
and  was  equally  as  well  and  as  ill  equipped  to  fight 
on  the  one  side  as  on  the  other.  So  I  spoke  up  and 
said  the  peasantry  pronounced  the  word  three,  not 
thraw.     It  was  an  error  of  judgment.     There  was  a 

56 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

moment  of  astonished  and  ominous  silence,  then 
weather  ensued.  The  storm  rose  and  spread  in  a 
surprising  way,  and  I  was  snowed  under  in  a  very 
few  minutes.  It  was  a  bad  defeat  for  me — a  kind 
of  Waterloo.  It  promised  to  remain  so,  and  I 
wished  I  had  had  better  sense  than  to  enter  upon 
such  a  forlorn  enterprise.  But  just  then  I  had  a 
saving  thought — at  least  a  thought  that  offered  a 
chance.  While  the  storm  was  still  raging,  I  made 
up  a  Scotch  couplet,  and  then  spoke  up  and  said: 

''Very  well,  don't  say  any  more.  I  confess 
defeat.  I  thought  I  knew,  but  I  see  my  mistake. 
I  was  deceived  by  one  of  yoiu-  Scotch  poets." 

'  *  A  Scotch  poet !     Oh,  come !     Name  him. ' ' 

''Robert  Burns.'' 

It  is  wonderful  the  power  of  that  name.  These 
men  looked  doubtful — ^but  paralyzed,  all  the  same. 
They  were  quite  silent  for  a  moment;  then  one  of 
them  said — with  the  reverence  in  his  voice  which  is 
always  present  in  a  Scotchman's  tone  when  he  utters 
the  name: 

''Does  Robbie  Bums  say — what  does  he  say?" 

*' This  is  what  he  says: 

"There  were  nae  bairns  but  only  three — 
Ane  at  the  breast,  twa  at  the  knee." 

It  ended  the  discussion.  There  was  no  man  there 
profane  enough,  disloyal  enough,  to  say  any  word 
against  a  thing  which  Robert  Bums  had  settled.  I 
shall  always  honor  that  great  name  for  the  salvation 
it  brought  me  in  this  time  of  my  sore  need. 

It  is  my  belief  that  nearly  any  invented  quotation, 

57 


MARK     TWAIN 

played  with  confidence,  stands  a  good  chance  to 
deceive.  There  are  people  who  think  that  honesty- 
is  always  the  best  policy.  This  is  a  superstition; 
there  are  times  when  the  appearance  of  it  is  worth 
six  of  it. 

We  are  moving  steadily  southward — getting  fur- 
ther and  further  down  under  the  projecting  paunch 
of  the  globe.  Yesterday  evening  we  saw  the  Big 
Dipper  and  the  north  star  sink  below  the  horizon 
and  disappear  from  our  world.  No,  not  *'we,"  but 
they.  They  saw  it — somebody  saw  it — and  told  me 
about  it.  But  it  is  no  matter,  I  was  not  caring 
for  those  things.  I  am  tired  of  them,  anyway.  I 
think  they  are  well  enough,  but  one  doesn't  want 
them  always  hanging  aroimd.  My  interest  was  all 
in  the  Southern  Cross.  I  had  never  seen  that.  I 
had  heard  about  it  all  my  life,  and  it  was  but  natural 
that  I  should  be  burning  to  see  it.  No  other  con- 
stellation makes  so  much  talk.  I  had  nothing  against 
the  Big  Dipper — and  naturally  couldn't  have  any- 
thing against  it,  since  it  is  a  citizen  of  our  own  sky, 
and  the  property  of  the  United  States — ^but  I  did 
want  it  to  move  out  of  the  way  and  give  this  for- 
eigner a  chance.  Judging  by  the  size  of  the  talk 
which  the  Southern  Cross  had  made,  I  supposed  it 
would  need  a  sky  all  to  itself. 

But  that  was  a  mistake.  We  saw  the  Cross  to- 
night, and  it  is  not  large.  Not  large,  and  not  strik- 
ingly bright.  But  it  was  low  down  toward  the 
horizon,  and  it  may  improve  when  it  gets  up  higher 
in  the  sky.  It  is  ingeniously  named,  for  it  looks 
just  as  a  cross  would  look  if  it  looked  like  something 

58 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

else.  But  that  description  does  not  describe;  it  is 
too  vague,  too  general,  too  indefinite.  It  does  after 
a  fashion  suggest  a  cross — a  cross  that  is  out  of 
repair — or  out  of  drawing;  not  correctly  shaped. 
It  is  long,  with  a  short  cross-bar,  and  the  cross-bar 
is  canted  out  of  the  straight  line. 

It  consists  of  four  large  stars  and  one  little  one. 
The  little  one  is  out  of  line 
and  further  damages  the 
shape.  It  should  have  been 
placed  at  the  intersection  of 
the  stem  and  the  cross-bar.  out  of  repair 

If  you  do  not  draw  an  im- 
aginary line  from  star  to  star  it  does  not  suggest 
a  cross — nor  anything  in  particular. 

One  must  ignore  the  little  star,  and  leave  it  out  of 
the  combination — it  confuses  everything.  If  you 
leave  it  out,  then  you  can  make  out  of  the  four  stars 
a  sort  of  cross — out  of  true;  or  a  sort  of  kite — 
out  of  true;   or  a  sort  of  coffin — out  of  true. 

Constellations  have  always  been  troublesome 
things  to  name.  If  you  give  one  of  them  a  fanciful 
name,  it  will  always  refuse  to  live  up  to  it;  it  will 
always  persist  in  not  resembHng  the  thing  it  has 
been  named  for.  Ultimately,  to  satisfy  the  public, 
the  fanciful  name  has  to  be  discarded  for  a  common- 
sense  one,  a  manifestly  descriptive  one.  The  Great 
Bear  remained  the  Great  Bear — and  unrecognizable 
as  such — for  thousands  of  years;  and  people  com- 
plained about  it  all  the  time,  and  quite  properly; 
but  as  soon  as  it  became  the  property  of  the  United 
States,  Congress  changed  it  to  the  Big  Dipper,  and 

59 


MARK     TWAIN 

now  everybody  is  satisfied,  and  there  is  no  more 
talk  about  riots.  I  would  not  change  the  Southern 
Cross  to  the  Southern  Coffin,  I  would  change  it  to 
the  Southern  Kite;  for  up  there  in  the  general 
emptiness  is  the  proper  home  of  a  kite,  but  not  for 
coffins  and  crosses  and  dippers.  In  a  little  while, 
now — I  cannot  tell  exactly  how  long  it  will  be — 
the  globe  will  belong  to  the  English-speaking  race; 
and  of  course  the  skies  also.  Then  the  constellations 
will  be  reorganized,  and  polished  up,  and  renamed 
— the  most  of  them  "Victoria,"  I  reckon,  but  this 
one  will  sail  thereafter  as  the  Southern  Kite,  or  go 
out  of  business.  Several  towns  and  things,  here 
and  there,  have  been  named  for  her  Majesty  already. 

In  these  past  few  days  we  are  plowing  through  a 
mighty  Milky  Way  of  islands.  They  are  so  thick  on 
the  map  that  one  would  hardly  expect  to  find  room 
between  them  for  a  canoe;  yet  we  seldom  glimpse 
one.  Once  we  saw  the  dim  bulk  of  a  couple  of  them, 
far  away,  spectral  and  dreamy  things;  members  of 
the  Home — Alofa  and  Fortuna.  On  the  larger  one 
are  two  rival  native  kings — and  they  have  a  time 
together.  They  are  Catholics;  so  are  their  people. 
The  missionaries  there  are  French  priests. 

From  the  multitudinous  islands  in  these  regions 
the  ** recruits"  for  the  Queensland  plantations  were 
formerly  drawn;  are  still  drawn  from  them,  I  be- 
lieve. Vessels  fitted  up  Hke  old-time  slavers  came 
here  and  carried  off  the  natives  to  serve  as  laborers 
in  the  great  Australian  province.  In  the  beginning 
it  was  plain,  simple  man-stealing,  as  per  testimony 
of  the  missionaries.     This  has  been  denied,  but  not 

60 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

disproven.  Afterward  it  was  forbidden  by  law  to 
*' recruit"  a  native  without  his  consent,  and  govern- 
mental agents  were  sent  in  all  recruiting  vessels  to 
see  that  the  law  was  obeyed — which  they  did,  ac- 
cording to  the  recruiting  people;  and  which  they 
sometimes  didn't,  according  to  the  missionaries.  A 
man  could  be  lawfully  recruited  for  a  three  years' 
term  of  service;  he  could  volunteer  for  another 
term  if  he  so  chose;  when  his  time  was  up  he  could 
return  to  his  island.  And  would  also  have  the  means 
to  do  it;  for  the  government  required  the  employer 
to  put  money  in  its  hands  for  this  purpose  before 
the  recruit  was  deHvered  to  him. 

Captain  Wawn  was  a  recruiting  shipmaster  during 
many  years.  From  his  pleasant  book  one  gets  the 
idea  that  the  recruiting  business  was  quite  popular 
with  the  islanders,  as  a  rule.  And  yet  that  did  not 
make  the  business  wholly  dull  and  uninteresting; 
for  one  finds  rather  frequent  little  breaks  in  the 
monotony  of  it — like  this,  for  instance : 

The  afternoon  of  our  arrival  at  Leper  Island  the  schooner  was 
lying  almost  becalmed  under  the  lee  of  the  lofty  central  portion 
of  the  island,  about  three-quarters  of  a  mile  from  the  shore. 
The  boats  were  in  sight  at  some  distance.  The  recruiter-boat 
had  run  into  a  small  nook  on  the  rocky  coast,  under  a  high  bank, 
above  which  stood  a  soHtary  hut  backed  by  dense  forest.  The 
government  agent  and  mate  in  the  second  boat  lay  about  four 
hundred  yards  to  the  westward. 

Suddenly  we  heard  the  sound  of  firing,  followed  by  yells  from 
the  natives  on  shore,  and  then  we  saw  the  recruiter-boat  push 
out  with  a  seemingly  diminished  crew.  The  mate's  boat  pulled 
quickly*  up,  took  her  in  tow,  and  presently  brought  her  along- 
side, all  her  own  crew  being  more  or  less  hurt.  It  seems  the 
natives  had  called  them  into  the  place  on  pretense  of  friendship. 

6i 


MARK     TWAIN 

A  crowd  gathered  about  the  stem  of  the  boat,  and  several  fel- 
lows even  got  into  her.  All  of  a  sudden  our  men  were  attacked 
with  clubs  and  tomahawks.  The  recruiter  escaped  the  first 
blows  aimed  at  him,  making  play  with  his  fists  until  he  had  an 
opportunity  to  draw  his  revolver.  "Tom  Sayers,"  a  Mare  man, 
received  a  tomahawk  blow  on  the  head  which  laid  the  scalp 
open  but  did  not  penetrate  his  skull,  fortunately.  "Bobby 
Towns,"  another  Ma.r6  boatman,  had  both  his  thumbs  cut  in 
warding  off  blows,  one  of  them  being  so  nearly  severed  from  the 
hand  that  the  doctors  had  to  finish  the  operation.  Lihu,  a  Lifu 
boy,  the  recruiter's  special  attendant,  was  cut  and  pricked  in 
various  places,  but  nowhere  seriously.  Jack,  an  unlucky  Taima 
recruit,  who  had  been  engaged  to  act  as  boatman,  received  an 
arrow  through  his  forearm,  the  head  of  which — a  piece  of  bone 
seven  or  eight  inches  long — was  still  in  the  limb,  protruding  from 
both  sides,  when  the  boats  returned.  The  recruiter  himself 
would  have  got  off  scot-free  had  not  an  arrow  pinned  one  of 
his  fingers  to  the  loom  of  the  steering-oar  just  as  they  were 
getting  off.  The  fight  had  been  short  but  sharp.  The  enemy 
lost  two  men,  both  shot  dead. 

The  truth  is,   Captain  Wawn  furnishes  such  a 
crowd    of   instances    of   fatal    encounters    between 
natives  and  French  and  English  recruiting  crews  (for 
the  French  are  in  the  business  for  the  plantations  of 
New  Caledonia),  that  one  is  almost  persuaded  that 
recruiting   is   not    thoroughly    popular   among   the 
islanders;    else  why  this  bristling  string  of  attacks 
and  blood-curdling  slaughter?     The  captain  lays  it; 
all  to  "Exeter  Hall  influence."     But  for  the  med-' 
dling  philanthropists,  the  native  fathers  and  mothers  i 
would  be  fond  of  seeing  their  children  carted  intoj 
exile  and  now  and  then  the  grave,  instead  of  weep-( 
ing  about  it  and  trying  to  kill  the  kind  recruiters. 


I 


\ 


CHAPTER  VI 

HOW  QUEENSLAND  EXTERMINATES  KANAKAS 

He  was  as  shy  as  a  newspaper  is  when  referring  to  its  own  merits. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

CAPTAIN  WAWN  is  crystal-clear  on  one  point. 
He  does  not  approve  of  missionaries.  They 
obstruct  his  business.  They  make  "Recruiting,"  as 
he  calls  it  ("Slave-Catching,"  as  they  call  it  in  their 
frank  way)  a  trouble  when  it  ought  to  be  just  a 
picnic  and  a  pleasure  excursion.  The  missionaries 
have  their  opinion  about  the  manner  in  which  the 
Labor  Traffic  is  conducted,  and  about  the  recruiter's 
evasions  of  the  law  of  the  Traffic,  and  about  the 
Traffic  itself:  and  it  is  distinctly  uncomplimentary 
to  the  Traffic  and  to  everything  connected  with  it, 
including  the  law  for  its  regulation.  Captain  Wawn's 
book  is  of  very  recent  date ;  I  have  by  me  a  pamphlet 
of  still  later  date — hot  from  the  press,  in  fact — by 
Rev.  Wm.  Gray,  a  missionary;  and  the  book  and 
the  pamphlet  taken  together  make  exceedingly 
interesting  reading,  to  my  mind. 

Interesting,  and  easy  to  understand — except  in 
one  detail,  which  I  will  mention  presently.  It  is 
easy  to  understand  why  the  Queensland  sugar-planter 
should  want  the  Kanaka  recruit :  he  is  cheap.  Very 
cheap,  in  fact.  These  are  the  figures  paid  by  the 
planter:  £20  to  the  recruiter  for  getting  the  Kanaka 

63 


MARK     TWAIN  ' 

— or  "catching"  him,  as  the  missionary  phrase  goes; 
£3  to  the  Queensland  government  for  "superintend- 
ing" the  importation;  £5  deposited  with  the  gov- 
ernment for  the  Kanaka's  passage  home  when  his 
three  years  are  up,  in  case  he  shall  live  that  long; 
about  £25  to  the  Kanaka  himself  for  three  years' 
wages  and  clothing;  total  payment  for  the  use  of  a  I 
man  three  years,  £53 ;  or,  including  diet,  £60. 
Altogether,  a  hundred  dollars  a  year.  One  can  un- 
derstand why  the  recruiter  is  fond  of  the  business; 
the  recruit  costs  him  a  few  cheap  presents  (given  to 
the  recruit's  relatives,  not  to  the  recruit  himself), 
and  the  recruit  is  worth  £20  to  the  recruiter  when 
delivered  in  Queensland.  All  this  is  clear  enough; 
but  the  thing  that  is  not  clear  is,  what  there  is  about 
it  all  to  persuade  the  recniit.  He  is  young  and 
brisk;  life  at  home  in  his  beautiful  island  is  one  lazy, 
long  holiday  to  him ;  or  if  he  wants  to  work  he  can 
tiu-n  out  a  couple  of  bags  of  copra  per  week  and  sell 
it  for  four  or  five  shillings  a  bag.  In  Queensland  he 
must  get  up  at  dawn  and  work  from  eight  to  twelve 
hours  a  day  in  the  cane-fields — in  a  much  hotter 
climate  than  he  is  used  to — and  get  less  than  four 
shillings  a  week  for  it. 

I  cannot  understand  his  willingness  to  go  to 
Queensland.  It  is  a  deep  puzzle  to  me.  Here  is 
the  explanation,  from  the  planter's  point  of  view; 
at  least  I  gather  from  the  missionary's  pamphlet  that 
it  is  the  planter's : 

When  he  comes  from  his  home  he  is  a  savage,  pure  and  simple. 
He  feels  no  shame  at  his  nakedness  and  want  of  adornment. 
When  he  returns  home  he  does  so  well  dressed,  sporting  a  Water- 

64 


FOLLOWING    THE     EQUATOR 

bury  watch,  collars,  cuffs,  boots,  and  jewelry.  He  takes  with 
him  one  or  more  boxes  '  well  filled  with  clothing,  a  musical  in- 
strument or  two,  and  perfumery  and  other  articles  of  luxury 
he  has  learned  to  appreciate. 

For  just  one  moment  we  have  a  seeming  flash  of 
comprehension  of  the  Kanaka's  reason  for  exiling 
himself:  he  goes  away  to  acquire  civilization.  Yes, 
he  was  naked  and  not  ashamed,  now  he  is  clothed 
and  knows  how  to  be  ashamed;  he  was  unenlight- 
ened, now  he  has  a  Waterbury  watch ;  he  was  imre- 
fined,  now  he  has  jewelry,  and  something  to  make 
him  smell  good ;  he  was  a  nobody,  a  provincial,  now 
he  has  been  to  far  coimtries  and  can  show  off. 

It  all  looks  plausible — for  a  moment.  Then  the 
missionary  takes  hold  of  this  explanation  and  pulls  it 
to  pieces,  and  dances  on  it,  and  damages  it  beyond 
recognition. 

Admitting  that  the  foregoing  description  is  the  average  one, 
the  average  sequel  is  this:  The  cuffs  and  collars,  if  used  at  all, 
are  carried  off  by  yoimgsters,  who  fasten  them  round  the  leg, 
just  below  the  knee,  as  ornaments.  The  Waterbury,  broken  and 
dirty,  finds  its  way  to  the  trader,  who  gives  a  trifle  for  it;  or  the 
inside  is  taken  out,  the  wheels  strung  on  a  thread  and  hung 
around  the  neck.  Knives,  axes,  calico,  and  handkerchiefs  are 
divided  among  friends,  and  there  is  hardly  one  of  these  apiece. 
The  boxes,  the  keys  often  lost  on  the  road  home,  can  be  bought 
for  2S.  6d.  They  are  to  be  seen  rotting  outside  in  almost  any 
shore  village  on  Tanna.  (I  speak  of  what  I  have  seen.)  A  re- 
turned Kanaka  has  been  furiously  angry  with  me  because  I 
would  not  buy  his  trousers,  which  he  declared  were  just  my  fit. 
He  sold  them  afterward  to  one  of  my  Aniwan  teachers  for  gd. 
worth  of  tobacco — a  pair  of  trousers  that  probably  cost  him  &s. 
or  los.  in  Queensland.  A  coat  or  shirt  is  handy  for  cold  weather. 
The  white  handkerchiefs,  the  ''senet"  (perfumery),  the  um- 

»"Box"  is  English  for  trunk. 
6s 


MARK     TWAIN 

brella,  and  perhaps  the  hat,  are  kept.  The  boots  have  to  take 
their  chance,  if  they  do  not  happen  to  fit  the  copra  trader. 
"Senet"  on  the  hair,  streaks  of  paint  on  the  face,  a  dirty  white 
handkerchief  round  the  neck,  strips  of  turtle-shell  in  the  ears,  a 
belt,  a  sheath  and  knife,  and  an  umbrella  constitute  the  rig  of 
the  returned  Kanaka  at  home  the  day  after  landing. 

A  hat,  an  umbrella,  a  belt,  a  neckerchief.  Other- 
wise stark  naked.  All  in  a  day  the  hard-earned 
"civilization"  has  melted  away  to  this.  And  even 
these  perishable  things  must  presently  go.  Indeed, 
there  is  but  a  single  detail  of  his  civilization  that  can 
be  depended  on  to  stay  by  him:  according  to  the 
missionary,  he  has  learned  to  swear.  This  is  art, 
and  art  is  long,  as  the  poet  says. 

In  all  countries  the  laws  throw  light  upon  the  past. 
The  Queensland  law  for  the  regtdation  of  the  Labor 
Traffic  is  a  confession.  It  is  a  confession  that  the 
evils  charged  by  the  missionaries  upon  the  traffic 
had  existed  in  the  past,  and  that  they  still  existed 
when  the  law  was  made.  The  missionaries  make  a 
further  charge:  that  the  law  is  evaded  by  the  re- 
cruiters, and  that  the  Government  Agent  sometimes 
helps  them  to  do-  it.  Regulation  thirty-one  reveals 
two  things :  that  sometimes  a  young  fool  of  a  recruit 
gets  his  senses  back,  after  being  persuaded  to  sign 
away  his  libert3rfor  three  years,  and  dearly  wants  to 
get  out  of  the  engagement  and  stay  at  home  with  his 
own  people ;  and  that  threats,  intimidation,  and  force 
are  used  to  keep  him  on  board  the  recruiting  ship, 
and  to  hold  him  to  his  contract.  Regulation  thirty- 
one  forbids  these  coercions.  The  law  requires  that  he 
shall  be  allowed  to  go  free ;  and  another  clause  of  it 
requires  the  recruiter  to  set  him  ashore — ^per  boat, 

66 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

because  of  the  prevalence  of  sharks.     Testimony 
from  Rev.  Mr.  Gray: 

There  are  "wrinkles"  for  taking  the  penitent  Kanaka.  My 
first  experience  of  the  Traffic  was  a  case  of  this  kind  in  1884.  A 
vessel  anchored  just  out  of  sight  of  our  station,  word  was  brought 
to  me  that  some  boys  were  stolen,  and  the  relatives  wished  me 
to  go  and  get  them  back.  The  facts  were,  as  I  found,  that  six 
boys  had  recruited,  had  rushed  into  the  boat,  the  Government 
Agent  informed  me.  They  had  all  "signed";  and,  said  the 
Government  Agent,  '*on  board  they  shall  remain."  I  was  as- 
sured that  the  six  boys  were  of  age  and  willing  to  go.  Yet  on 
getting  ready  to  leave  the  ship  I  found  four  of  the  lads  ready  to 
come  ashore  in  the  boat!  This  I  forbade.  One  of  them  jumped 
into  the  water  and  persisted  in  coming  ashore  in  my  boat. 
When  appealed  to,  the  Government  Agent  suggested  that  we 
go  and  leave  him  to  be  picked  up  by  the  ship's  boat,  a  quarter- 
mile  distant  at  the  time! 

The  law  and  the  missionaries  feel  for  the  repentant 
recruit — and  properly,  one  may  be  permitted  to 
think,  for  he  is  only  a  youth  and  ignorant  and  per- 
suadable to  his  hurt — but  sympathy  for  him  is  not 
kept  in  stock  by  the  recruiter.    Rev.  Mr.  Gray  says : 

A  captain  many  years  in  the  traffic  explained  to  me  how  a 
penitent  could  be  taken.  "When  a  boy  jumps  overboard  we 
just  take  a  boat  and  pull  ahead  of  him,  then  lie  between  him  and 
the  shore.  If  he  has  not  tired  himself  swimming,  and  passes 
the  boat,  keep  on  heading  him  in  this  way.  The  dodge  rarely 
fails.  The  boy  generally  tires  of  swimming,  gets  into  the  boat 
of  his  own  accord,  and  goes  quietly  on  board." 

Yes,  exhaustion  is  likely  to  make  a  boy  quiet.  If 
the  distressed  boy  had  been  the  speaker's  son,  and 
the  captors  savages,  the  speaker  would  have  been 
surprised  to  see  how  differently  the  thing  looked 
from  the  new  point  of  view;  however,  it  is  not  our 

67 


MARK     TWAIN 

custom  to  put  ourselves  in  the  other  person's  place. 
Somehow  there  is  something  pathetic  about  that  dis- 
appointed young  savage's  resignation.  I  must  ex- 
plain, here,  that  in  the  traffic  dialect,  "boy"  does 
not  always  mean  boy;  it  means  a  youth  above  six- 
teen years  of  age.  That  is  by  Queensland  law 
the  age  of  consent,  though  it  is  held  that  recruiters 
allow  themselves  some  latitude  in  guessing  at  ages. 
Captain  Wawn  of  the  free  spirit  chafes  under  the 
annoyance  of  "cast-iron  regulations."  They  and 
the  missionaries  have  poisoned  his  life.  He  grieves 
for  the  good  old  days,  vanished  to  come  no  more. 
See  him  weep;   hear  him  cuss  between  the  lines! 

For  a  long  time  we  were  allowed  to  apprehend  and  detain  all 
deserters  who  had  signed  the  agreement  on  board  ship,  but  the 
"cast-iron"  regulations  of  the  Act  of  1884  put  a  stop  to  that, 
allowing  the  Kanaka  to  sign  the  agreement  for  three  years'  ser- 
vice, travel  about  in  the  ship  in  receipt  of  the  regular  rations, 
cadge  all  he  could,  and  leave  when  he  thought  fit,  so  long  as  he 
did  not  extend  his  pleasure  trip  to  Queensland. 

Rev.  Mr.  Gray  calls  this  same  restrictive  cast-iron 
law  a  "farce."  "There  is  as  much  cruelty  and 
injustice  done  to  natives  by  acts  that  are  legal  as 
by  deeds  unlawful.  The  regulations  that  exist  are 
unjust  and  inadequate — unjust  and  inadequate  they 
must  ever  be."  He  furnishes  his  reasons  for  his 
position,  but  they  are  too  long  for  reproduction  here. 

However,  if  the  most  a  Kanaka  advantages  himself 
by  a  three-years  course  in  civiHzation  in  Queensland 
is  a  necklace  and  an  imibrella  and  a  showy  imperfec- 
tion in  the  art  of  swearing,  it  must  be  that  all  the 
profit  of  the  traffic  goes  to  the  white  man.     This 

68 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

could  be  twisted  into  a  plausible  argument  that  the 
traffic  ought  to  be  squarely  abolished. 

However,  there  is  reason  for  hope  that  that  can  be 
left  alone  to  achieve  itself.  It  is  claimed  that  the 
traffic  will  depopulate  its  sources  of  supply  within 
the  next  twenty  or  thirty  years.  Queensland  is  a 
very  healthy  place  for  white  people — death-rate  12 
in  1,000  of  the  population — but  the  Kanaka  death- 
rate  is  away  above  that.  The  vital  statistics  for  1893 
place  it  at  52;  for  1894  (Mackay  district),  68. 
The  first  six  months  of  the  Kanaka's  exile  are  pecu- 
liarly perilous  for  him  because  of  the  rigors  of  the 
new  climate.  The  death-rate  among  the  new  men 
has  reached  as  high  as  180  in  the  1,000.  In  the 
Kanaka's  native  home  his  death-rate  is  12  in  time  of 
peace,  and  1 5  in  time  of  war.  Thus  exile  to  Queens- 
land— with  the  opportunity  to  acquire  civilization, 
an  umbrella,  and  a  pretty  poor  quaHty  of  profanity — 
is  twelve  times  as  deadly  for  him  as  war.  Common 
Christian  charity,  common  humanity,  does  seem  to 
require,  not  only  that  these  people  be  returned  to 
their  homes,  but  that  war,  pestilence,  and  famine  be 
introduced  among  them  for  their  preservation. 

Concerning  these  Pacific  isles  and  their  peoples  an 
eloquent  prophet  spoke  long  years  ago — five  and 
fifty  years  ago.  In  fact,  he  spoke  a  little  too  early. 
Prophecy  is  a  good  line  of  business,  but  it  is  full  of 
risks.  This  prophet  was  the  Right  Rev.  M.  Russell, 
LL.D.,  D.C.L.,  of  Edinburgh: 

Is  the  tide  of  civilization  to  roll  only  to  the  foot  of  the  Rocky 
Mountains,  and  is  the  sun  of  knowledge  to  set  at  last  in  the  waves 
of  the  Pacific?     No;   the  mighty  day  of  four  thousand  years  is 

69 


MARK     TWAIN 

drawing  to  its  close;  the  sun  of  humanity  has  performed  its 
destined  course;  but  long  ere  its  setting  rays  are  extinguished 
in  the  west,  its  ascending  beams  have  glittered  on  the  isles  of 
the  eastern  seas. .  .  .  And  now  we  see  the  race  of  Japhet  setting 
forth  to  people  the  isles,  and  the  seeds  of  another  Europe  and  a 
second  England  sown  in  the  region  of  the  sun.  But  mark  the 
words  of  the  prophecy:  "He  shall  dwell  in  the  tents  of  Shem, 
and  Canaan  shall  be  his  servant."  It  is  not  said  Canaan  shall 
be  his  slave.  To  the  Anglo-Saxon  race  is  given  the  scepter  of  the 
globe,  but  there  is  not  given  either  the  lash  of  the  slave-driver 
or  the  rack  of  the  executioner.  The  East  will  not  be  stained 
with  the  same  atrocities  as  the  West;  the  frightful  gangrene  of 
an  ethralled  race  is  not  to  mar  the  destinies  of  the  family  of 
Japhet  in  the  Oriental  world;  humanizing,  not  destroying,  as 
they  advance;  uniting  with,  not  enslaving,  the  inhabitants  with 
whom  they  dwell,  the  British  race  may  [etc.,  etc.]. 

And  he  closes  his  vision  with  an  invocation  from 
Campbell : 

Come,  bright  Improvement!    on  the  car  of  Time, 
And  rule  the  spacious  world  from  clime  to  clime. 

Very  well,  Bright  Improvement  has  arrived,  you 
see,  with  her  civilization,  and  her  Waterbury,  and 
her  imibrella,  and  her  third-quality  profanity,  and 
her  humanizing-not-destroying  machinery,  and  her 
hundred-and-eighty  death-rate,  and  everything  is 
going  along  just  as  handsome! 

But  the  prophet  that  speaks  last  has  an  advantage 
over  the  pioneer  in  the  business.  Rev.  Mr.  Gray 
says: 

What  I  am  concerned  about  is  that  we  as  a  Christian  nation 
should  wipe  out  these  races  to  enrich  ourselves. 

And  he  closes  his  pamphlet  with  a  grim  Indictment 
which  is  as  eloquent  in  its  fioweriess  straightforward 

70 


FOLLOWING    THE     EQUATOR 

English  as  is  the  hand-painted  rhapsody  of  the  early 
j     prophet : 

My  indictment  of  the  Queensland  Kanaka  Labor  Traffic  is 

this: 

1.  It  generally  demoralizes  and  always  impoverishes  the 
Kanaka,  deprives  him  of  his  citizenship,  and  depopulates  the 
islands  fitted  to  his  home. 

2.  It  is  felt  to  lower  the  dignity  of  the  white  agricultural 
laborer  in  Queensland,  and  beyond  a  doubt  it  lowers  his  wages 
there. 

3.  The  whole  system  is  fraught  with  danger  to  Australia  and 
the  islands  on  the  score  of  health. 

4.  On  social  and  political  grounds  the  continuance  of  the 
Queensland  Kanaka  Labor  Traffic  must  be  a  barrier  to  the  true 
federation  of  the  Australian  colonies. 

5.  The  Regulations  under  which  the  Traffic  exists  in  Queens- 
land are  inadequate  to  prevent  abuses,  and  in  the  nature  of 
things  they  must  remain  so. 

6.  The  whole  system  is  contrary  to  the  spirit  and  doctrine 
of  the  Gospel  of  Jesus  Christ.  The  Gospel  requires  us  to  help 
the  weak,  but  the  Kanaka  is  fleeced  and  trodden  down. 

7.  The  bed-rock  of  this  Traffic  is  that  the  life  and  hberty  of  a 
black  man  are  of  less  value  than  those  of  a  white  man.  And  a 
Traffic  that  has  grown  out  of  "slave-hunting"  will  certainly  re- 
main to  the  end  not  unlike  its  origin. 


CHAPTER  Vn 

WE  PITY  THE  EXPLOITED  FIJIANS 

Truth  ia  the  most  valuable  thing  we  hare.     Let  us  economize  it. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

FROM  Diary : — For  a  day  or  two  we  have  been 
plowing  among  an  invisible  vast  wilderness  of 
islands,  catching  now  and  then  a  shadowy  glimpse 
of  a  member  of  it.  There  does  seem  to  be  a  pro- 
digious lot  of  islands  this  year;  the  map  of  this 
region  is  freckled  and  fly-specked  all  over  with  them. 
Their  number  would  seem  to  be  uncoimtable.  We 
are  moving  among  the  Fijis  now — two  himdred  and 
twenty-four  islands  and  islets  in  the  group.  In  front 
of  us,  to  the  west,  the  wilderness  stretches  toward  Aus- 
tralia, then  curves  upward  to  New  Guinea,  and  still  up 
and  up  to  Japan ;  behind  us,  to  the  east,  the  wilderness 
stretches  sixty  degrees  across  the  wastes  of  the  Pacific ; 
south  of  us  is  New  Zealand.  Somewhere  or  other 
among  these  myriads  Samoa  is  concealed,  and  not 
discoverable  on  the  map.  Still,  if  you  wish  to  go 
there,  you  will  have  no  trouble  about  finding  it  if  you 
follow  the  directions  given  by  Robert  Louis  Stevenson 
to  Dr.  Conan  Doyle  and  to  Mr.  J.  M.  Barrie.  "You 
go  to  America,  cross  the  continent  to  San  Francisco, 
and  then  it's  the  second  tinning  to  the  left."  To 
get  the  full  flavor  of  the  joke  one  must  take  a  glance 
at  the  map. 

Wednesday,  Sept.  ii.     Yesterday  we  passed  close 

72 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

to  an  island  or  so,  and  recognized  the  published 
Fiji  characteristics:  a  broad  belt  of  clean  white 
coral  sand  around  the  island;  back  of  it  a  graceful 
fringe  of  leaning  palms,  with  native  huts  nestHng 
cozily  among  the  shrubbery  at  their  bases ;  back  of 
these  a  stretch  of  level  land  clothed  in  tropic  vegeta- 
tion; back  of  that,  rugged  and  picturesque  moun- 
tains. A  detail  of  the  immediate  foreground:  a 
moldering  ship  perched  high  upon  a  reef -bench. 

This  completes  the  composition,  and  makes  the 
picture  artistically  perfect. 

In  the  afternoon  we  sighted  Suva,  the  capital  of 
the  group,  and  threaded  our  way  into  the  secluded 
little  harbor — a  placid  basin  of  brilliant  blue  and 
green  water  tucked  snugly  in  among  the  sheltering 
hills.  A  few  ships  rode  at  anchor  in  it — one  of 
them  a  sailing-vessel  flying  the  American  flag;  and 
they  said  she  came  from  Duluth!  There's  a  jour- 
ney! Duluth  is  several  thousand  miles  from  the 
sea,  and  yet  she  is  entitled  to  the  proud  name  of 
Mistress  of  the  Commercial  Marine  of  the  United 
States  of  America.  There  is  only  one  free,  inde- 
pendent, imsubsidized  American  ship  sailing  the 
foreign  seas,  and  Duluth  owns  it.  All  by  itself  that 
ship  is  the  American  fleet.  All  by  itself  it  causes 
the  American  name  and  power  to  be  respected  in 
the  far  regions  of  the  globe.  All  by  itself  it  certifies 
to  the  world  that  the  most  populous  civilized  nation 
in  the  earth  has  a  just  pride  in  her  stupendous  stretch 
of  sea-front,  and  is  determined  to  assert  and  main- 
tain her  rightful  place  as  one  of  the  Great  Maritime 
Powers  of  the  Planet.     All  by  itself  it  is  making 

73 


MARK     TWAIN 

foreign  eyes  familiar  with  a  Flag  which  they  have  not 
seen  before  for  forty  years,  outside  of  the  museum. 
For  what  Duluth  has  done,  in  building,  equipping, 
and  maintaining  at  her  sole  expense  the  American 
Foreign  Commercial  Fleet,  and  in  thus  rescuing  the 
American  name  from  shame  and  lifting  it  high  for 
the  homage  of  the  nations,  we  owe  her  a  debt  of 
gratitude  which  our  hearts  shall  confess  with  quick- 
ened beats  whenever  her  name  is  named  henceforth. 
Many  national  toasts  will  die  in  the  lapse  of  time, 
but  while  the  flag  flies  and  the  Republic  survives, 
they  who  live  imder  their  shelter  will  still  drink  this 
one,  standing  and  uncovered:  Health  and  pros- 
perity to  Thee,  O  Duluth,  American  Queen  of  the 
Alien  Seas! 

Rowboats  began  to  flock  from  the  shore;  their 
crews  were  the  first  natives  we  had  seen.  These 
men  carried  no  overplus  of  clothing,  and  this  was 
wise,  for  the  weather  was  hot.  Handsome,  great 
dusky  men  they  were,  muscular,  clean-limbed,  and 
with  faces  full  of  character  and  intelligence.  It 
would  be  hard  to  find  their  superiors  anywhere 
among  the  dark  races,  I  should  think. 

Everybody  went  ashore  to  look  around,  and  spy 
out  the  land,  and  have  that  luxury  of  luxuries  to  sea- 
voyagers — a  land-dinner.  And  there  we  saw  more 
natives:  Wrinkled  old  women,  with  their  flat  mam- 
mals flung  over  their  shoulders,  or  hanging  down  in 
front  like  the  cold-weather  drip  from  the  molasses 
faucet;  plump  and  smily  young  girls,  bHthe  and 
content,  easy  and  graceftd,  a  pleasure  to  look  at; 
young  matrons,  tall,  straight,  comely,  nobly  built, 

74 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

sweeping  by  with  chin  up,  and  a  gait  incomparable 
for  unconscious  stateliness  and  dignity;  majestic 
young  men — athletes  for  build  and  muscle — clothed 
in  a  loose  arrangement  of  dazzling  white,  with  bronze 
breast  and  bronze  legs  naked,  and  the  head  a  cannon- 
swab  of  solid  hair  combed  straight  out  from  the 
skull  and  dyed  a  rich  brick-red.  Only  sixty  years 
ago  they  were  sunk  in  darkness;  now  they  have 
the  bicycle. 

We  strolled  about  the  streets  of  the  white  folks' 
little  town,  and  around  over  the  hills  by  paths  and 
roads  among  European  dwellings  and  gardens  and 
plantations,  and  past  clumps  of  hibiscus  that  made  a 
body  blink,  the  great  blossoms  were  so  intensely  red; 
and  by  and  by  we  stopped  to  ask  an  elderly  English 
colonist  a  question  or  two,  and  to  sympathize  with 
him  concerning  the  torrid  weather;  but  he  was  sur- 
prised, and  said : 

"This?  This  is  not  hot.  You  ought  to  be  here 
in  the  simimer-time  once." 

**We  supposed  that  this  was  summer;  it  has  the 
earmarks  of  it.  You  could  take  it  to  almost  any 
country  and  deceive  people  with  it.  But  if  it  isn't 
summer,  what  does  it  lack?" 

*'It  lacks  half  a  year.    This  is  midwinter." 

I  had  been  suffering  from  colds  for  several  months, 
and  a  sudden  change  of  season,  like  this,  could  hardly 
fail  to  do  me  hurt.  It  brought  on  another  cold.  It 
is  odd,  these  sudden  jumps  from  season  to  season. 
A  fortnight  ago  we  left  America  in  midsummer, 
now  it  is  midwinter;  about  a  week  hence  we  shall 
arrive  in  AustraHa  in  the  spring. 

75 


MARK     TWAIN 

After  dinner  I  found  in  the  billiard-room  a  resident 
whom  I  had  known  somewhere  else  in  the  world,  and 
presently  made  some  new  friends  and  drove  with 
them  out  into  the  country  to  visit  his  Excellency  the 
head  of  the  State,  who  was  occupying  his  country 
residence,  to  escape  the  rigors  of  the  winter  weather, 
I  suppose,  for  it  was  on  breezy  high  ground  and 
much  more  comfortable  than  the  lower  regions, 
where  the  town  is,  and  where  the  winter  has  full 
swing,  and  often  sets  a  person's  hair  afire  when  he 
takes  off  his  hat  to  bow.  There  is  a  noble  and 
beautiful  view  of  ocean  and  islands  and  castellated 
peaks  from  the  governor's  high-placed  house,  and 
its  immediate  surroundings  lie  drowsing  in  that 
dreamy  repose  and  serenity  which  are  the  charm  of 
life  in  the  Pacific  Islands. 

One  of  the  new  friends  who  went  out  there  with 
me  was  a  large  man,  and  I  had  been  admiring  his 
size  all  the  way.  I  was  still  admiring  it  as  he  stood 
by  the  governor  on  the  veranda,  talking;  then  the 
Fijian  butler  stepped  out  there  to  announce  tea,  and 
dwarfed  him.  Maybe  he  did  not  quite  dwarf  him, 
but  at  any  rate  the  contrast  was  quite  striking.  Per- 
haps that  dark  giant  was  a  king  in  a  condition  of 
political  suspension.  I  think  that  in  the  talk  there 
on  the  veranda  it  was  said  that  in  Fiji,  as  in  the 
Sandwich  Islands,  native  kings  and  chiefs  are  of 
much  grander  size  and  build  than  the  commoners. 
This  man  was  clothed  in  flowing  white  vestments, 
and  they  were  just  the  thing  for  him;  they  com- 
ported well  with  his  great  stature  and  his  kingly  port 
and  dignity.    European  clothes  would  have  degraded 

76 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

him  and  made  him  commonplace.     I  know  that,  be- 
cause they  do  that  with  everybody  that  wears  them. 

It  was  said  that  the  old-time  devotion  to  chiefs 
and  reverence  for  their  persons  still  survive  in  the 
native  commoner,  and  in  great  force.  The  educated 
young  gentleman  who  is  chief  of  the  tribe  that  live  in 
the  region  about  the  capital  dresses  in  the  fashion  of 
high-class  European  gentlemen,  but.  even  his  clothes 
cannot  damn  him  in  the  reverence  of  his  people. 
Their  pride  in  his  lofty  rank  and  ancient  lineage  lives 
on,  in  spite  of  his  lost  authority  and  the  evil  magic 
of  his  tailor.  He  has  no  need  to  defile  himself  with 
work,  or  trouble  his  heart  with  the  sordid  cares  of 
life;  the  tribe  will  see  to  it  that  he  shall  not  want, 
and  that  he  shall  hold  up  his  head  and  live  like  a 
gentleman.  I  had  a  glimpse  of  him  down  in  the 
town.  Perhaps  he  is  a  descendant  of  the  last  king — 
the  king  with  the  difficult  name  whose  memory  is 
preserved  by  a  notable  monument  of  cut  stone  which 
one  sees  in  the  inclosure  in  the  middle  of  the  town. 
Thakombau — I  remember,  now;  that  is  the  name. 
It  is  easier  to  preserve  it  on  a  granite  block  than  in 
your  head. 

Fiji  was  ceded  to  England  by  this  king  in  1858. 
One  of  the  gentlemen  present  at  the  governor's 
quoted  a  remark  made  by  the  king  at  the  time  of 
the  cession — a  neat  retort,  and  with  a  touch  of 
pathos  in  it,  too.  The  English  Commissioner  had 
offered  a  crumb  of  comfort  to  Thakombau  by  saying 
that  the  transfer  of  the  kingdom  to  Great  Britain  was 
merely  "a  sort  of  hermit-crab  formality,  you  know." 
"Yes,"  said  poor  Thakombau,  "but  with  this  differ- 

77 


Y 

A 

MARK    TWAIN 

ence — the  crab  moves  into  an  unoccupied  shell,  but       ; 

mine  isn't."  I 

However,  as  far  as  I  can  make  out  from  the  books,  ; 
the  king  was  between  the  devil  and  the  deep  sea  at 
the  time,  and  hadn't  much  choice.  He  owed  the  Unit- 
ed States  a  large  debt — a  debt  which  he  could  pay 
if  allowed  time,  but  time  was  denied  him.  He  must  pay 
up  right  away  or  the  war-ships  would  be  upon  him. 
To  protect  his  people  from  this  disaster  he  ceded  his 
country  to  Britain,  with  a  clause  in  the  contract  pro- 
viding for  the  ultimate  payment  of  the  American  debt. 
In  old  times  the  Fijians  were  fierce  fighters;  they 
were  very  religious,  and  worshiped  idols;  the  big 
chiefs  were  proud  and  haughty,  and  they  were  men 
of  great  style  in  many  ways;  all  chiefs  had  several 
wives,  the  biggest  chiefs  sometimes  had  as  many  as 
fifty;  when  a  chief  was  dead  and  ready  for  burial, 
four  or  five  of  his  wives  were  strangled  and  put  into 
the  grave  with  him.  In  1804  twenty-seven  British 
convicts  escaped  from  Australia  to  Fiji,  and  brought 
guns  and  ammimition  with  them.  Consider  what  a 
power  they  were,  armed  like  that,  and  what  an  op- 
portunity they  had.  If  they  had  been  energetic  men 
and  sober,  and  had  had  brains  and  known  how  to 
use  them,  they  could  have  achieved  the  sovereignty 
of  the  archipelago — twenty-seven  kings  and  each 
with  eight  or  nine  islands  under  his  scepter.  But 
nothing  came  of  this  chance.  They  lived  worthless 
Hves  of  sin  and  luxury,  and  died  without  honor — ^in 
most  cases  by  violence.  Only  one  of  them  had  any 
ambition;  he  was  an  Irishman  named  Connor.  He 
tried  to  raise  a  family  of  fifty  children,  and  scored 

78 


FOLLOWING    THE     EQUATOR 

forty-eight.  He  died  lamenting  his  failure.  It  was 
a  foolish  sort  of  avarice.  Many  a  father  would  have 
been  rich  with  forty. 

It  is  a  fine  race,  the  Fijians,  with  brains  in  then- 
heads  and  an  inquiring  turn  of  mind.  It  appears 
that  their  savage  ancestors  had  a  doctrine  of  immor- 
tality in  their  scheme  of  rehgion — with  limitations. 
That  is  to  say,  their  dead  friend  would  go  to  a  happy 
hereafter  if  he  could  be  accumulated,  but  not  other- 
wise. They  drew  the  line;  they  thought  that  the 
missionary's  doctrine  was  too  sweeping,  too  compre- 
hensive. They  called  his  attention  to  certain  facts. 
For  instance,  many  of  their  friends  had  been  de- 
voured by  sharks;  the  sharks,  in  their  turn,  were 
caught  and  eaten  by  other  men;  later,  these  men 
were  captured  in  war,  and  eaten  by  the  enemy.  The 
original  persons  had  entered  into  the  composition  of 
the  sharks;  next,  they  and  the  sharks  had  become 
part  of  the  flesh  and  blood  and  bone  of  the  can- 
nibals. How,  then,  could  the  particles  of  the  orig- 
inal men  be  searched  out  from  the  final  conglomerate 
and  put  together  again  ?  The  inquirers  were  full  of 
doubts,  and  considered  that  the  missionary  had  not 
examined  the  matter  with  the  gravity  and  attention 
which  so  serious  a  thing  deserved. 

The  missionary  taught  these  exacting  savages 
many  valuable  things,  and  got  from  them  one — a 
very  dainty  and  poetical  idea:  Those  wild  and  igno- 
rant poor  children  of  Nature  believed  that  the  flow- 
ers, after  they  perish,  rise  on  the  winds  and  float 
away  to  the  fair  fields  of  heaven,  and  flourish  there 
forever  in  immortal  beauty ! 

79 


CHAPTER  VITI 

GREAT   SPEED   OF  THE  MOA  BIRD 

It  could  probably  be  shown  by  facts  and  figures  that  there  is  no  distinctly  native 
American  criminal  class  except  Congress. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

WHEN  one  glances  at  the  map  the  members  of 
the  stupendous  island  wilderness  of  the  Pacific 
seem  to  crowd  upon  each  other;  but  no,  there  is  no 
crowding,  even  in  the  center  of  a  group;  and  be- 
tween groups  there  are  lonely  wide  deserts  of  sea. 
Not  everything  is  known  about  the  islands,  their 
peoples  and  their  languages.  A  startling  reminder 
of  this  is  furnished  by  the  fact  that  in  Fiji,  twenty 
years  ago,  were  living  two  strange  and  solitary 
beings  who  came  from  an  unknown  country  and 
spoke  an  imknown  language.  ''They  were  picked 
up  by  a  passing  vessel  many  hundreds  of  miles  from 
any  known  land,  floating  in  the  same  tiny  canoe  in 
which  they  had  been  blown  out  to  sea.  When  found 
they  were  but  skin  and  bone.  No  one  could  under- 
stand what  they  said,  and  they  have  never  named 
their  country;  or,  if  they  have,  the  name  does  not 
correspond  with  that  of  any  island  on  any  chart. 
They  are  now  fat  and  sleek,  and  as  happy  as  the  day 
is  long.  In  the  ship's  log  there  is  an  entry  of  the 
latitude  and  longitude  in  which  they  were  found, 
and  this  is  probably  all  the  clue  they  will  ever  have 
to  their  lost  homes."  ^ 

1  Forbes's  Two  Years  in  Fiji, 
80 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

What  a  strange  and  romantic  episode  it  is;  and 
how  one  is  tortured  with  curiosity  to  know  whence 
those  mysterious  creatures  came,  those  Men  Without 
a  Country,  errant  waifs  who  cannot  name  their  lost 
home,  wandering  Children  of  Nowhere. 

Indeed,  the  Island  Wilderness  is  the  very  home  of 
romance  and  dreams  and  mystery.  The  loneliness, 
the  solemnity,  the  beauty,  and  the  deep  repose  of 
this  wilderness  have  a  charm  which  is  all  their  own 
for  the  bruised  spirit  of  men  who  have  fought  and 
failed  in  the  struggle  for  life  in  the  great  world;  and 
for  men  who  have  been  hunted  out  of  the  great 
world  for  crime ;  and  for  other  men  who  love  an  easy 
and  indolent  existence;  and  for  others  who  love  a 
roving  free  life,  and  stir  and  change  and  adventure; 
and  for  yet  others  who  love  an  easy  and  comfortable 
career  of  trading  and  money-getting,  mixed  with 
plenty  of  loose  matrimony  by  purchase,  divorce 
without  trial  or  expense,  and  limitless  spreeing 
thrown  in  to  make  life  ideally  perfect. 

We  sailed  again,  refreshed. 

The  most  cultivated  person  in  the  ship  was  a 
young  Englishman  whose  home  was  in  New  Zealand, 
He  was  a  naturalist.  His  learning  in  his  specialty 
was  deep  and  thorough,  his  interest  in  his  subject 
amounted  to  a  passion,  he  had  an  easy  gift  of  speech ; 
and  so,  when  he  talked  about  animals  it  was  a 
pleasure  to  listen  to  him.  And  profitable,  too, 
though  he  was  sometimes  difficult  to  understand 
because  now  and  then  he  used  scientific  technicalities 
which  were  above  the  reach  of  some  of  us.  They 
were  pretty  sure  to  be  above  my  reach,  but  as  he 

8i 


MARK     TWAIN 

was  qmte  willing  to  explain  them  I  always  made  it  a 
point  to  get  him  to  do  it.  I  had  a  fair  knowledge  of 
his  subject — layman's  knowledge — to  begin  with, 
but  it  was  his  teachings  which  crystallized  it  into 
scientific  form  and  clarity  —  in  a  word,  gave  it 
value. 

His  special  interest  was  the  fauna  of  Australasia, 
and  his  knowledge  of  the  matter  was  as  exhaustive 
as  it  was  accurate.  I  already  knew  a  good  deal 
about  the  rabbits  in  Australasia  and  their  marvelous 
fecundity,  but  in  my  talks  with  him  I  found  that  my 
estimate  of  the  great  hindrance  and  obstruction 
inflicted  by  the  rabbit  pest  upon  traffic  and  travel 
was  far  short  of  the  facts.  He  told  me  that  the  first 
pair  of  rabbits  imported  into  Australasia  bred  so 
wonderfully  that  within  six  months  rabbits  were  so 
thick  in  the  land  that  people  had  to  dig  trenches 
through  them  to  get  from  town  to  town. 

He  told  me  a  great  deal  about  worms,  and  the 
kangaroo,  and  other  coleoptera,  and  said  he  knew 
the  history  and  ways  of  all  such  pachydermata.  He 
said  the  kangaroo  had  pockets,  and  carried  its  young 
in  them  when  it  couldn't  get  apples.  And  he  said 
that  the  emu  was  as  big  as  an  ostrich,  and  looked 
like  one,  and  had  an  amorphous  appetite  and  would 
eat  bricks.  Also,  that  the  dingo  was  not  a  dingo  at 
all,  but  just  a  wild  dog;  and  that  the  only  dif- 
ference between  a  dingo  and  a  dodo  was  that  nei- 
ther of  them  barked;  otherwise  they  were  just  the 
same. 

He  said  that  the  only  game-bird  in  Australasia 
was  the  wombat,  and  the  only  song-bird  the  larrikin, 

82 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  that  both  were  protected  by  government.  The 
most  beautiful  of  the  native  birds  was  the  bird  of 
paradise.  Next  came  the  two  kinds  of  lyres;  not 
spelt  the  same.  He  said  the  one  kind  was  dying 
out,  the  other  thickening  up.  He  explained  that 
the  *' Sundowner  was  not  a  bird,  it  was  a  man; 
sundowner  was  merely  the  Australian  equivalent  of 
our  word,  tramp.  He  is  a  loafer,  a  hard  drinker, 
and  a  sponge.  He  tramps  across  the  country  in  the 
sheep-shearing  season,  pretending  to  look  for  work; 
but  he  always  times  himself  to  arrive  at  a  sheep-run 
just  at  simdown,  when  the  day's  labor  ends;  all  he 
wants  is  whisky  and  supper  and  bed  and  breakfast; 
he  gets  them  and  then  disappears.  The  naturalist 
spoke  of  the  bell-bird,  the  creature  that  at  short 
intervals  all  day  rings  out  its  mellow  and  exquisite 
peal  from  the  deeps  of  the  forest.  It  is  the  favorite 
and  best  friend  of  the  weary  and  thirsty  stmdowner; 
for  he  knows  that  wherever  the  bell-bird  is,  there  is 
water;  and  he  goes  somewhere  else.  The  naturalist 
said  that  the  oddest  bird  in  Australasia  was  the 
Laughing  Jackass,  and  the  biggest  the  now  extinct 
Great  Moa. 

The  Moa  stood  thirteen  feet  high,  and  could  step 
over  an  ordinary  man's  head  or  kick  his  hat  off; 
and  his  head,  too,  for  that  matter.  He  said  it  was 
wingless,  but  a  swift  runner.  The  natives  used  to 
ride  it.  It  could  make  forty  miles  an  hour,  and 
keep  it  up  for  four  hundred  miles  and  come  out 
reasonably  fresh.  It  was  still  in  existence  when  the 
railway  was  introduced  into  New  Zealand;  still  in 
existence    and    carrying    the    mails.     The    railroad 

83 


MARK     TWAIN 

began  with  the  same  schedule  it  has  now:  two 
expresses  a  week  —  time,  twenty  miles  an  hour. 
The  company  exterminated  the  Moa  to  get  the 
mails. 

Speaking  of  the  indigenous  coneys  and  bactrian 
camels,  the  naturahst  said  that  the  coniferous  and 
bacteriological  output  of  Australasia  was  remarkable 
for  its  many  and  curious  departures  from  the  ac- 
cepted laws  governing  these  species  of  tubercles,  but 
that  in  his  opinion  Nature's  fondness  for  dabbHng 
in  the  erratic  was  most  notably  exhibited  in  that 
curious  combination  of  bird,  fish,  amphibian,  bur- 
rower,  crawler,  quadruped,  and  Christian  called  the 
Ornithorhyncus — grotesquest  of  animals,  king  of  the 
animalculae  of  the  world  for  versatiHty  of  character 
and  make-up.     Said  he : 

You  can  call  it  anything  you  want  to,  and  be  right.  It  is  a 
fish,  for  it  lives  in  the  river  half  the  time;  it  is  a  land-animal,  for 
it  resides  on  the  land  half  the  time;  it  is  an  amphibian,  since  it 
likes  both  and  does  not  know  which  it  prefers;  it  is  a  hybemian, 
for  when  times  are  dull  and  nothing  much  going  on  it  buries 
itself  under  the  mud  at  the  bottom  of  a  puddle  and  hybemates 
there  a  couple  of  weeks  at  a  time;  it  is  a  kind  of  duck,  for  it  has 
a  duck-bill  and  four  webbed  paddles;  it  is  a  fish  and  quadruped 
together,  for  in  the  water  it  swims  with  the  paddles  and  on  shore 
it  paws  itself  across  coimtry  with  them;  it  is  a  kind  of  seal,  for 
it  has  a  seal's  fur;  it  is  carnivorous,  herbivorous,  insectivorous, 
and  vermifuginous,  for  it  eats  fish  and  grass  and  butterflies,  and 
in  the  season  digs  worms  out  of  the  mud  and  devours  them;  it  is 
clearly  a  bird,  for  it  lays  eggs  and  hatches  them;  it  is  clearly  a 
mammal,  for  it  nurses  its  young;  and  it  is  manifestly  a  kind  of 
Christian,  for  it  keeps  the  Sabbath  when  there  is  anybody  around, 
and  when  there  isn't,  doesn't.  It  has  all  the  tastes  there  are 
except  refined  ones,  it  has  all  the  habits  there  are  except  good 
ones. 

It  is  a  survival — a  survival  of  the  fittest.     Mr.  Darwin  in- 

84 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

vented  the  theory  that  goes  by  that  name,  but  the  Ornithorhyn- 
cus was  the  first  to  put  it  to  actual  experiment  and  prove  that 
it  could  be  done.  Hence  it  should  have  as  much  of  the  credit 
as  Mr.  Darwin.  It  was  never  in  the  Ark;  you  will  find  no  men- 
tion of  it  there;  it  nobly  stayed  out  and  worked  the  theory.  Of 
all  creatures  in  the  world  it  was  the  only  one  properly  equipped 
for  the  test.  The  Ark  was  thirteen  months  afloat,  and  all  the 
globe  submerged;  no  land  visible  above  the  flood,  no  vegetation, 
no  food  for  a  mammal  to  eat,  nor  water  for  a  mammal  to  drink; 
for  all  mammal  food  was  destroyed,  and  when  the  pure  floods 
from  heaven  and  the  salt  oceans  of  the  earth  mingled  their 
waters  and  rose  above  the  mountain-tops,  the  result  was  a  drink 
which  no  bird  or  beast  of  ordinary  construction  could  use  and 
live.  But  this  combination  was  nuts  for  the  Ornithorhyncus,  if 
I  may  use  a  term  Uke  that  without  offense.  Its  river  home  had 
always  been  salted  by  the  flood-tides  of  the  sea.  On  the  face 
of  the  Noachian  deluge  innumerable  forest  trees  were  floating. 
Upon  these  the  Ornithorhyncus  voyaged  in  peace;  voyaged 
from  clime  to  clime,  from  hemisphere  to  hemisphere,  in  content- 
ment and  comfort,  in  virile  interest  in  the  constant  change  of 
scene,  in  humble  thankfulness  for  its  privileges,  in  ever-increasing 
enthusiasm  in  the  development  of  the  great  theory  upon  whose 
validity  it  had  staked  its  life,  its  fortunes,  and  its  sacred  honor, 
if  I  may  use  such  expressions  without  impropriety  in  connection 
with  an  episode  of  this  nature. 

It  lived  the  tranquil  and  luxurious  life  of  a  creature  of  inde- 
pendent means.  Of  things  actually  necessary  to  its  existence 
and  its  happiness  not  a  detail  was  wanting.  When  it  wished  to 
walk,  it  scrambled  along  the  tree-trunk;  it  mused  in  the  shade 
of  the  leaves  by  day,  it  slept  in  their  shelter  by  night;  when  it 
wanted  the  refreshment  of  a  swim,  it  had  it;  it  ate  leaves  when 
it  wanted  a  vegetable  diet,  it  dug  under  the  bark  for  worms  and 
grubs;  when  it  wanted  fish  it  caught  them,  when  it  wanted  eggs 
it  laid  them.  If  the  grubs  gave  out  in  one  tree  it  swam  to  an- 
other; and  as  for  fish,  the  very  opulence  of  the  supply  was  an 
embarrassment.  And  finally,  when  it  was  thirsty  it  smacked 
its  chops  in  gratitude  over  a  blend  that  would  have  slain  a 
crocodile. 

When  at  last,  after  thirteen  months  of  travel  and  research  in 
all  the  Zones,  it  went  aground  on  a  mountain-summit,  it  strode 
ashore,  saying  in  its  heart,  "Let  them  that  come  after  me  invent 

85 


MARK     TWAIN 

theories  and  dream  dreams  about  the  Survival  of  the  Fittest  if 
they  like,  but  I  am  the  first  that  has  done  it!" 

This  wonderful  creature  dates  back,  Hke  the  kangaroo  and 
many  other  Australian  hydrocephalous  invertebrates,  to  an  age 
long  anterior  to  the  advent  of  man  upon  the  earth;  they  date 
back,  indeed,  to  a  time  when  a  causeway,  hundreds  of  miles 
wide  and  thousands  of  miles  long,  joined  Australia  to  Africa, 
and  the  animals  of  the  two  countries  were  aUke,  and  all  be- 
longed to  that  remote  geological  epoch  known  to  science  as  the 
Old  Red  Grindstone  Post-Pleosaurian.  Later  the  causeway  sank 
imder  the  sea;  subterranean  convulsions  Hfted  the  African  con- 
tinent a  thousand  feet  higher  than  it  was  before,  but  Australia 
kept  her  old  level.  In  Africa's  new  climate  the  animals  neces- 
sarily began  to  develop  and  shade  off  into  new  forms  and  famiHes 
and  species,  but  the  animals  of  AustraUa  as  necessarily  remained 
stationary,  and  have  so  remained  until  this  day.  In  the  course  of 
some  millions  of  years  the  African  Ornithorhyncus  developed  and 
developed  and  developed,  and  sloughed  off  detail  after  detail  of 
its  make-up  until  at  last  the  creature  became  wholly  disintegrated 
and  scattered.  Whenever  you  see  a  bird  or  a  beast  or  a  seal  or 
an  otter  in  Africa  you  know  that  he  is  merely  a  sorry  siu^iving 
fragment  of  that  sublime  original  of  whom  I  have  been  speak- 
ing— that  creature  which  was  everything  in  general  and  nothing  ; 
in  particular — the  opulently  endowed  e  pluribus  unum  of  the 
animal  world. 

Such  is  the  history  of  the  most  hoary,  the  most  ancient,  the 
most  venerable  creature  that  exists  in  the  earth  to-day — 
Ornithorhyncus  Platypus  Extraordinariensis — ^whom  God  pre- 
serve! 


When  he  was  strongly  moved  he  could  rise  and 
soar  like  that  with  ease.  And  not  only  in  the  prose 
form,  but  in  the  poetical  as  well.  He  had  written 
many  pieces  of  poetry  in  his  time,  and  these  manu- 
scripts he  lent  around  among  the  passengers,  and 
was  willing  to  let  them  be  copied.  It  seemed  to  me 
that  the  least  technical  one  in  the  series,  and  the 
one  which  reached  the  loftiest  note,  perhaps,  was  his 

86 


J 


FOLLOWING    THE    EQUATOR 

INVOCATION 

Come  forth  from  thy  oozy  couch, 

0  Ornithorhyncus  dear! 
'And  greet  with  a  cordial  claw 
The  stranger  that  longs  to  hear 

From  thy  own  lips  the  tale 

Of  thy  origin  all  unknown: 
Thy  misplaced  bone  where  flesh  should  be 

And  flesh  where  should  be  bone; 

And  fishy  fin  where  should  be  paw, 

And  beaver-trowel  tail, 
And  snout  of  beast  equip 'd  with  teeth 

Where  gills  ought  to  prevail. 

Come,  Kangaroo,  the  good  and  true! 

Foreshortened  as  to  legs, 
And  body  tapered  Hke  a  chum, 

And  sack  marsupial,  i'  fegs. 

And  tell  us  why  you  Unger  here. 

Thou  relic  of  a  vanished  time, 
When  all  your  friends  as  fossils  sleep. 

Immortalized  in  lime! 

Perhaps  no  poet  is  a  conscious  plagiarist;  but 
there  seems  to  be  warrant  for  suspecting  that  there 
is  no  poet  who  is  not  at  one  time  or  another  an 
I  unconscious  one.  The  above  verses  are  indeed  beau- 
I  tiful,  and,  in  a  way,  touching;  but  there  is  a  haunting 
something  about  them  which  imavoidably  suggests 
the  Sweet  Singer  of  Michigan.  It  can  hardly  be 
doubted  that  the  author  had  read  the  works  of  that 
poet  and  been  impressed  by  them.  It  is  not  apparent 
that  he  has  borrowed  from  them  any  word  or  yet 
any  phrase,  but  the  style  and  swing  and  mastery 

87 


MARK     TWAIN 

and  melody  of  the  Sweet  Singer  all  are  there.  Com- 
pare this  Invocation  with  "Frank  Button" — par- 
ticularly stanzas  first  and  seventeenth — and  I  think 
the  reader  will  feel  convinced  that  he  who  wrote 
the  one  had  read  the  other :  ^ 


Frank  Button  was  as  fine  a  lad 

As  ever  you  wish  to  see, 
And  he  was  drowned  in  Pine  Island  Lake, 

On  earth  no  more  will  he  be, 
His  age  was  near  fifteen  years, 

And  he  was  a  motherless  boy, 
He  was  living  with  his  grandmother 

When  he  was  drowned,  poor  boy. 

xvn 

He  was  drowned  on  Tuesday  afternoon, 

On  Sunday  he  was  found, 
And  the  tidings  of  that  drowned  boy 

Was  heard  for  miles  around. 
His  form  was  laid  by  his  mother's  side, 

Beneath  the  cold,  cold  ground. 
His  friends  for  him  will  drop  a  tear 

When  they  view  his  Httle  mound. 

*  The  Sentimental  Song  Book.     By  Mrs.  Julia  Moore,  p.  36. 


CHAPTER  IX 

WEIRD,   NEW,    STARTLING  AUSTRALIA 

It  is  your  human  environment  that  makes  climate. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

SEPT.  I  j— Night.  Close  to  Australia  now.  Syd- 
ney fifty  miles  distant. 
That  note  recalls  an  experience.  The  passengers 
were  sent  for,  to  come  up  in  the  bow  and  see  a  fine 
sight.  It  was  very  dark.  One  could  not  follow 
with  the  eye  the  surface  of  the  sea  more  than  fifty 
yards  in  any  direction — it  dimmed  away  and  became 
lost  to  sight  at  about  that  distance  from  us.  But 
if  you  patiently  gazed  into  the  darkness  a  little 
while,  there  was  a  sure  reward  for  you.  Presently, 
a  quarter  of  a  mile  away  you  would  see  a  blinding 
splash  or  explosion  of  light  on  the  water — a  flash 
so  sudden  and  so  astonishingly  brilliant  that  it  would 
make  you  catch  your  breath;  then  that  blotch  of 
light  would  instantly  extend  itself  and  take  the 
corkscrew  shape  and  imposing  length  of  the  fabled 
sea-serpent,  with  every  curve  of  its  body  and  the 
"break"  spreading  away  from  its  head,  and  the 
wake  following  behind  its  tail  clothed  in  a  fierce 
splendor  of  living  fire.  And  my,  b.ut  it  was  coming 
at  a  Hghtning  gait !  Almost  before  3^ou  could  think, 
this  monster  of  light,  fifty  feet  long,  would  go  flaming 
and  storming  by,  and  suddenly  disappear.    And  out 

89 


MARK    TWAIN 

in  the  distance  whence  he  came  you  would  see 
another  flash ;  and  another  and  another  and  another, 
and  see  them  turn  into  sea-serpents  on  the  instant; 
and  once  sixteen  flashed  up  at  the  same  time  and 
came  tearing  toward  us,  a  swarm  of  wiggling  curves, 
a  moving  conflagration,  a  vision  of  bewildering 
beauty,  a  spectacle  of  fire  and  energy  whose  equal 
the  most  of  those  people  will  not  see  again  imtil 
after  they  are  dead. 

It  was  porpoises — porpoises  aglow  with  phosphor- 
escent light.  They  presently  collected  in  a  wild 
and  magnificent  jumble  under  the  bows,  and  there 
they  played  for  an  hour,  leaping  and  frolicking  and 
carrying  on,  turning  somersaults  in  front  of  the  stem 
or  across  it  and  never  getting  hit,  never  making  a 
miscalculation,  though  the  stem  missed  them  only 
about  an  inch,  as  a  rule.  They  were  porpoises  of 
the  ordinary  length — eight  or  ten  feet — but  every 
twist  of  their  bodies  sent  a  long  procession  of  united 
and  glowing  curves  astern.  That  fiery  jimible  was  an 
enchanting  thing  to  look  at,  and  we  stayed  out  the 
performance;  one  cannot  have  such  a  show  as  that 
twice  in  a  lifetime.  The  porpoise  is  the  kitten  of 
the  sea;  he  never  has  a  serious  thought,  he  cares  for 
nothing  but  fun  and  play.  But  I  think  I  never  saw 
him  at  his  winsomest  imtil  that  night.  It  was  near 
a  center  of  civilization,  and  he  could  have  been 
drinking. 

By  and  by,  when  we  had  approached  to  some^ 
where  within  thirty  miles  of  Sydney  Heads  the  great 
electric  light  that  is  posted  on  one  of  those  lofty 
ramparts  began  to  show,  and  in  time  the  little  spark 

90 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

grew  to  a  great  sun  and  pierced  the  firmament  of 
darkness  with  a  far-reaching  sword  of  light. 

Sydney  Harbor  is  shut  in  behind  a  precipice  that 
extends  some  miles  like  a  wall,  and  exhibits  no 
break  to  the  ignorant  stranger.  It  has  a  break  in 
the  middle,  but  it  makes  so  little  show  that  even 
Captain  Cook  sailed  by  it  without  seeing  it.  Near 
by  that  break  is  a  false  break  which  resembles  it, 
and  which  used  to  make  trouble  for  the  mariner  at 
night,  in  the  early  days  before  the  place  was  lighted. 
It  caused  the  memorable  disaster  to  the  Duncan 
Dunbar,  one  of  the  most  pathetic  tragedies  in  the 
history  of  that  pitiless  ruffian,  the  sea.  The  ship 
was  a  sailing-vessel;  a  fine  and  favorite  passenger- 
packet,  commanded  by  a  popular  captain  of  high 
reputation.  She  was  due  from  England,  and  Syd- 
ney was  waiting,  and  coimting  the  hours;  coimting 
the  hoiu"s,  and  making  ready  to  give  her  a  heart- 
stirring  welcome;  for  she  was  bringing  back  a  great 
company  of  mothers  and  daughters,  the  long-missed 
Hght  and  bloom  of  life  of  Sydney  homes ;  daughters 
that  had  been  years  absent  at  school,  and  mothers 
that  had  been  with  them  all  that  time  watching  over 
them.  Of  all  the  world  only  India  and  Australasia 
have  by  custom  freighted  ships  and  fleets  with  their 
hearts,  and  know  the  tremendous  meaning  of  that 
phrase;  only  they  know  what  the  waiting  is  Hke 
when  this  freightage  is  intrusted  to  the  fickle  winds, 
not  steam,  and  what  the  joy  is  like  when  the  ship 
that  is  returning  this  treasure  comes  safe  to  port  and 
the  long  dread  is  over. 

On    board    the   Duncan   Dunbar,    flying    toward 

91 


MARK    TWAIN 

Sydney  Heads  in  the  waning  afternoon,  the  happy 
home-comers  made  busy  preparation,  for  it  was  not 
doubted  that  they  would  be  in  the  arms  of  their 
friends  before  the  day  was  done;  they  put  away 
their  sea-going  clothes  and  put  on  clothes  meeter 
for  the  meeting,  their  richest  and  their  loveliest, 
these  poor  brides  of  the  grave.  But  the  wind  lost 
force,  or  there  was  a  miscalculation,  and  before  the 
Heads  were  sighted  the  darkness  came  on.  It  was 
said  that  ordinarily  the  captain  would  have  made  a 
safe  offing  and  waited  for  the  morning;  but  this  was 
no  ordinary  occasion;  all  about  him  were  appealing 
faces,  faces  pathetic  with  disappointment.  So  his 
sympathy  moved  him  to  try  the  dangerous  passage 
in  the  dark.  He  had  entered  the  Heads  seventeen 
times,  and  believed  he  knew  the  groimd.  So  he 
steered  straight  for  the  false  opening,  mistaking  it 
for  the  true  one.  He  did  not  find  out  that  he  was 
wrong  imtil  it  was  too  late.  There  was  no  saving 
the  ship.  The  great  seas  swept  her  in  and  crushed 
her  to  splinters  and  rubbish  upon  the  rock  tushes  at 
the  base  of  the  precipice.  Not  one  of  all  that  fair 
and  gracious  company  was  ever  seen  again  alive. 
The  tale  is  told  to  every  stranger  that  passes  the 
spot,  and  it  will  continue  to  be  told  to  all  that  come, 
for  generations;  but  it  will  never  grow  old,  custom 
cannot  stale  it,  the  heartbreak  that  is  in  it  can  never 
perish  out  of  it. 

There  were  two  himdred  persons  in  the  ship,  and 
but  one  survived  the  disaster.  He  was  a  sailor.  A 
huge  sea  flung  him  up  the  face  of  the  precipice  and 
stretched  him  on  a  narrow  shelf  of  rock  midway 

92 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

between  the  top  and  the  bottom,  and  there  he  lay 
all  night.  At  any  other  time  he  would  have  lain 
there  for  the  rest  of  his  life,  without  chance  of  dis- 
covery; but  the  next  morning  the  ghastly  news 
swept  through  Sydney  that  the  Duncan  Dunbar  had 
gone  down  in  sight  of  home,  and  straightway  the 
walls  of  the  Heads  were  black  with  mourners;  and 
one  of  these,  stretching  himself  out  over  the  preci- 
pice to  spy  out  what  might  be  seen  below,  discov- 
ered this  miraculously  preserved  reHc  of  the  wreck. 
Ropes  were  brought,  and  the  nearly  impossible  feat 
of  rescuing  the  man  was  accomplished.  He  was  a 
person  with  a  practical  turn  of  mind,  and  he  hired  a 
hall  in  Sydney  and  exhibited  himself  at  sixpence  a 
head  till  he  exhausted  the  output  of  the  gold-fields 
for  that  year. 

We  entered  and  cast  anchor,  and  in  the  morning 
went  oh-ing  and  ah-ing  in  admiration  up  through 
the  crooks  and  turns  of  the  spacious  and  beautiful 
harbor — a  harbor  which  is  the  darling  of  Sydney 
and  the  wonder  of  the  world.  It  is  not  surprising 
that  the  people  are  proud  of  it,  nor  that  they  put 
their  enthusiasm  into  eloquent  words.  A  returning 
citizen  asked  me  what  I  thought  of  it,  and  I  testified 
with  a  cordiality  which  I  judged  would  be  up  to  the 
market  rate.  I  said  it  was  beautiful — superbly 
beautiful.  Then  by  a  natural  impulse  I  gave  God 
the  praise.  The  citizen  did  not  seem  altogether 
satisfied.     He  said : 

"It  is  beautiful,  of  course  it's  beautiful  —  the 
Harbor;  but  that  isn't  all  of  it,  it's  only  half  of  it; 
Sydney's  the  other  half,  and  it  takes  both  of  them 

93 


MARK     TWAIN 

ID  Ting  tbe  smpreniacy-belL    God  made  ibe 
Hnbor,   and  that's  aE  ligjht;    but   Satan 


Of  Gomse  I  made  an  apoiogy;  and  asted  hon  to 
ittoliisfidend.  He  mas  ijgpit  about  Sydney 
ofit.  ItvoaMbebeantifolvitlioiitSyd- 
r,  but  not  above  half  as  traiiliful  as  it  is  now. 
It  is  singled  ,sManiniut  fike  - 
itMMuy  dioet  o£  lovcfy  bine  nafeer,  'w.i:! 
off-siioots  of  muter  nmning  iq>  into  the 
iHMmiiji;  on.  bulb  Sides  betiPBcn  long  fiugeis  of  land, 
b^gjh  wooden  tinges  mtb  sides  ainped  fike  graves. 
Bbndsame  villas  are  perciiBd  beie  and  tbere  on  tLe^e 

as  tiie  sliq>  swims  by  toirard 
Ibe  city.    The  city  fioihes  a  rfiffdir  of  bills  and  a 
of  npq^bnffipg  xidges  with  its  wndnfatr-^ 
s  of  iiBBiiMMy,  and  out  of  tlies^e  zi^sses  spring 


d  grandDois  tibat  break  Idie  flor^ 
dfcnresqneness  to  the  general  eSe 
The  nanow  inlets  windh  I  hi 

out  i**^t**  "tli^  wamn  CIVCP- 

m  it.  and  pioane  fe 
liem  wilb  fnw  paitic  i 
by  trastwortiiy  fwofiiii  that  iz 
on  will  find  that  yon  bapeooTc 
5  of  water  passage.    But  the: 
;  and  Ibcy  win  docLi 
in  good  goiqg  order. 
October  was  dose  at  band,  spr^ 
ewiybudy 
9« 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

have  sold  it  for  summer  in  Canada,  and  nobody 
would  have  suspected.  It  was  the  very  weather 
that  makes  our  home  summers  the  perfection  of 
climatic  luxury;  I  mean,  when  you  are  out  in  the 
wood  or  by  the  sea.  But  these  people  said  it  was 
cool,  now — a  person  ought  to  see  Sydney  in  the 
summer-time  if  he  w^anted  to  know  w^hat  warm 
weather  is;  and  he  ought  to  go  north  ten  or  fifteen 
hundred  miles  if  he  wanted  to  know  what  hot 
weather  is.  They  said  that  away  up  there  toward 
the  equator  the  hens  laid  fried  eggs.  Sydney  is  the 
place  to  go  to  get  information  about  other  people's 
climates.  It  seems  to  me  that  the  occupation  of 
Unbiased  Traveler  Seeking  Information  is  the  pleas- 
antest  and  most  irresponsible  trade  there  is.  The 
traveler  can  always  find  out  anything  he  wants  to, 
merely  by  asking.  He  can  get  at  all  the  facts,  and 
more.  Ever>'body  helps  him,  nobody  hinders  him. 
Anybody  who  has  an  old  fact  in  stock  that  is  no 
longer  negotiable  in  the  domestic  market  will  let  him 
have  it  at  his  own  price.  An  accimiulation  of  such 
goods  is  easily  and  qmckly  made.  They  cost  almost 
nothing  and  they  bring  par  in  the  foreign  market. 
Travelers  who  come  to  America  always  freight  up 
with  the  same  old  nursery  tales  that  their  predeces- 
sors selected,  and  they  carry  them  back  and  always 
work  them  off  without  any  trouble  in  the  home 
market. 

If  the  climates  of  the  world  were  determined  by 
parallels  of  latitude,  then  we  could  know  a  place's 
climate  by  its  position  on  the  map ;  and  so  we  should 
know  that  the  climate  of  Sydney  was  the  counter- 

95 


MARK     TWAIN 

part  of  the  climate  of  Columbia,  South  Carolina, 
and  of  Little  Rock,  Arkansas,  since  Sydney  is  about 
the  same  distance  south  of  the  equator  that  those 
other  towns  are  north  of  it  —  thirty-four  degrees. 
But  no,  climate  disregards  the  parallels  of  latitude. 
In  Arkansas  they  have  a  winter;  in  Sydney  they 
have  the  name  of  it,  but  not  the  thing  itself.  I 
have  seen  the  ice  in  the  Mississippi  floating  past 
the  mouth  of  the  Arkansas  River;  and  at  Mem- 
phis, but  a  little  way  above,  the  Mississippi  has 
been  frozen  over,  from  bank  to  bank.  But  they 
have  never  had  a  cold  spell  in  Sydney  which 
brought  the  mercury  down  to  freezing-point.  Once 
in  a  midwinter  day  there,  in  the  month  of  July, 
the  mercury  went  down  to  thirty-six  degrees,  and 
that  remains  the  memorable  "cold  day"  in  the 
history  of  the  town.  No  doubt  Little  Rock  has  seen 
it  below  zero.  Once,  in  Sydney,  in  midsummer, 
about  New  Year's  Day,  the  mercury  went  up  to  one 
hundred  and  six  degrees  in  the  shade,  and  that  is 
Sydney's  memorable  hot  day.  That  would  about 
tally  with  Little  Rock's  hottest  day  also,  I  imagine. 
My  Sydney  figures  are  taken  from  a  government 
report,  and  are  trustworthy.  In  the  matter  of  sum- 
mer weather  Arkansas  has  no  advantage  over  Sydney, 
perhaps,  but  when  it  comes  to  winter  weather,  that 
is  another  affair.  You  could  cut  up  an  Arkansas 
winter  into  a  hundred  Sydney  winters  and  have 
enough  left  for  Arkansas  and  the  poor. 

The  whole  narrow,  hilly  belt  of  the  Pacific  side  of 
New  South  Wales  has  the  climate  of  its  capital — a 
mean  winter  temperature  of  fifty-foiu:  degrees  and  a' 

96 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

mean  stimmer  one  of  seventy-one  degrees.  It  is  a 
climate  which  cannot  be  improved  upon  for  health- 
fulness.  But  the  experts  say  that  ninety  degrees  in 
New  South  Wales  is  harder  to  bear  than  one  himdred 
and  twelve  degrees  in  the  neighboring  colony  of 
Victoria,  because  the  atmosphere  of  the  former  is 
himiid,  and  of  the  latter  dry. 

The  mean  temperature  of  the  southernmost  point 
of  New  South  Wales  is  the  same  as  that  of  Nice — 
sixty  degrees — ^yet  Nice  is  fiirther  from  the  equator 
by  four  himdred  and  sixty  miles  than  is  the  former. 

But  Natiu-e  is  always  stingy  of  perfect  climates; 
stingier  in  the  case  of  Australia  than  usual.  Ap- 
parently, this  vast  continent  has  a  really  good 
climate  nowhere  but  aroimd  the  edges. 

If  we  look  at  a  map  of  the  world  we  are  surprised 
to  see  how  big  Australia  is.  It  is  about  two-thirds 
as  large  as  the  United  States  was  before  we  added 
Alaska. 

But  whereas  one  finds  a  sufficiently  good  climate 
and  fertile  land  almost  everyivhere  in  the  United 
States,  it  seems  settled  that  inside  of  the  Australian 
border-belt  one  finds  many  deserts  and  in  spots  a 
climate  which  nothing  can  stand  except  a  few  of  the 
hardier  kinds  of  rocks.  In  effect,  Australia  is  as 
yet  imoccupied.  If  you  take  a  map  of  the  United 
States  and  leave  the  Atlantic  seaboard  states  in 
their  places;  also  the  fringe  of  Southern  states  from 
Florida  west  to  the  mouth  of  the  Mississippi;  also 
a  narrow,  inhabited  streak  up  the  Mississippi  half- 
way to  its  headwaters;  also  a  narrow,  inhabited 
border  along  the  Pacific  coast;  then  take  a  brushful 

Q7 


MARK     TWAIN 

of  paint  and  obliterate  the  whole  remaining  mighty 
stretc±L  of  country  that  lies  between  the  Atlantic 
states  and  the  Pacific-coast  strip,  your  map  will 
look  like  the  latest  map  of  Australia. 

This  stupendous  blank  is  hot,  not  to  say  torrid; 
a  part  of  it  is  fertile,  the  rest  is  desert;  it  is  not 
liberally  watered;  it  has  no  towns.  One  has  only 
to  cross  the  moimtains  of  New  South  Wales  and 
descend  into  the  westward-lying  regions  to  find  that 


he  has  left  the  choice  climate  behind  him,  and  found 
a  new  one  of  a  quite  different  character.  In  fact,  he 
would  not  know  by  the  thermometer  that  he  was  not 
in  the  blistering  Plains  of  India.  Captain  Stmt,  the 
great  explorer,  gives  us  a  sample  of  the  heat. 


The  wind,  which  had  been  blowing  all  the  morning  from  the 
N.E.,  increased  to  a  heavy  gale,  and  I  shall  never  forget  its 
withering  effect.  I  sought  shelter  behind  a  large  gum  tree,  but 
the  blasts  of  heat  were  so  terrific  that  I  wondered  the  very  grass 
did  not  take  fire.  This  really  was  nothing  ideal:  everything 
both  animate  and  inanimate  gave  way  before  it;  the  horses 
stood  with  their  backs  to  the  wind  and  their  noses  to  the  ground, 
without  the  muscular  strength  to  raise  their  heads;  the  birds 
were  mute,  and  the  leaves  of  the  trees  imder  which  we  were 

98 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

sittmg  fell  like  a  snow-shower  around  us.  At  noon  I  took  a  ther- 
mometer graded  to  127°,  out  of  my  box,  and  observed  that  the 
meroiry  was  up  to  125°.  Thinking  that  it  had  beea  unduly 
influenced,  I  put  it  in  the  fork  of  a  tree  close  to  me,  sheltered 
alike  from  the  wind  and  the  sun.  I  went  to  examine  it  about  an 
hour  afterward,  when  I  found  the  mercury  had  risen  to  the  top 
of  the  instrument  and  had  hurst  the  bulb,  a  circumstance  that  I 
beUeve  no  traveler  has  ever  before  had  to  record.  I  cannot  find 
language  to  convey  to  the  reader's  mind  an  idea  of  the  intense 
and  oppressive  nature  of  the  heat  that  prevailed. 

That  hot  wind  sweeps  over  Sydney  sometimes, 
and  brings  with  it  what  is  called  a  ''dust-storm." 
It  is  said  that  most  AustraHan  towns  are  acquainted 
with  the  dust-storm.  I  think  I  know  what  it  is  like, 
for  the  following  description  by  Mr.  Gane  tallies  very 
well  with  the  alkali  dust-storm  of  Nevada,  if  you 
leave  out  the  ''shovel"  part.  Still  the  shovel  part 
is  a  pretty  important  part,  and  seems  to  indicate 
that  my  Nevada  storm  is  but  a  poor  thing,  after  all. 

As  we  proceeded  the  altitude  became  less,  and  the  heat  pro- 
portionately greater  until  we  reached  Dubbo,  which  is  only  sLx 
hundred  feet  above  sea-level.  It  is  a  pretty  town,  built  on  an  ex- 
tensive plain.  . . .  After  the  effects  of  a  shower  of  rain  have  passed 
away  the  surface  of  the  ground  crumbles  into  a  thick  layer  of 
dust,  and  occasionally,  when  the  wind  is  in  a  particular  quarter, 
it  is  lifted  bodily  from  the  groutui  in  one  long  opaque  cloud.  In 
the  midst  of  such  a  storm  nothing  can  be  seen  a  few  yards  ahead, 
and  the  unlucky  person  who  happens  to  be  out  at  the  time  is 
compelled  to  seek  the  nearest  retreat  at  hand.  When  the 
thrifty  housewife  sees  in  the  distance  the  dark  column  advancing 
in  a  steady  whirl  toward  her  house,  she  closes  the  doors  and 
windows  with  all  expedition.  A  drawing-room,  the  window  of 
which  has  been  carelessly  left  open  during  a  dust-storm,  is  indeed 
an  extraordinary  sight.  A  lady  who  has  resided  in  Dubbo  for 
some  years  says  that  the  dust  hes  so  thick  on  the  carpet  that  it 
is  necessary  to  use  a  shovel  to  remove  it. 

99 


MARK     TWAIN 

And  probably  a  wagon.  I  was  mistaken;  I  have 
not  seen  a  proper  dust-storm.  To  my  mind  the 
exterior  aspects  and  character  of  Australia  are  fasci- 
nating things  to  look  at  and  think  about,  they  are 
so  strange,  so  weird,  so  new,  so  uncommonplace, 
such  a  startling  and  interesting  contrast  to  the  other 
sections  of  the  planet,  the  sections  that  are  known 
to  us  all,  familiar  to  us  all.  In  the  matter  of  par- 
ticulars— a  detail  here,  a  detail  there — we  have  had 
the  choice  cHmate  of  New  South  Wales's  seacoast; 
we  have  had  the  Australian  heat  as  furnished  by 
Captain  Sturt;  we  have  had  the  wonderful  dust- 
storm;  and  we  have  considered  the  phenomenon  of 
an  almost  empty  hot  wilderness  half  as  big  as  the 
United  States,  with  a  narrow  belt  of  civilization, 
population,  and  good  climate  around  it. 


CHAPTER  X 

SOME  BARBAROUS  ENGLISH  LAWS 

Everything  human  is  pathetic.     The  secret  source  of  Humor  itself  is  not  joy 
but  sorrow.     There  is  no  humor  in  heaven. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

CAPTAIN  COOK  found  Australia  in  1770,  and 
eighteen  3^ears  later  the  British  government 
began  to  transport  convicts  to  it.  Altogether,  New- 
South  Wales  received  eighty-three  thousand  in  fifty- 
three  years.  The  convicts  wore  heavy  chains ;  they 
were  ill-fed  and  badly  treated  by  the  officers  set  over 
them;  they  were  heavily  punished  for  even  slight 
infractions  of  the  rules;  ''the  crudest  discipline  ever 
known"  is  one  historian's  description  of  their  life.^ 

English  law  was  hard-hearted  in  those  days.  For 
trifling  offenses  which  in  our  day  would  be  punished 
by  a  small  fine  or  a  few  days'  confinement,  men, 
women,  and  boys  were  sent  to  this  other  end  of  the 
earth  to  serve  terms  of  seven  and  fourteen  years; 
and  for  serious  crimes  they  were  transported  for  life. 
Children  were  sent  to  the  penal  colonies  for  seven 
years  for  stealing  a  rabbit ! 

When  I  was  in  London  twenty-three  years  ago 
there  w^as  a  new  penalty  in  force  for  diminishing 
garroting  and  wife-beating — twenty-five  lashes  on 
the  bare  back  with  the  cat-o*-nine-tails.  It  was  said 
that  this  terrible  punishment  was  able  to  bring  the 

*  The  Story  of  Australasia.     J.  S.  Laurie. 

lOI 


MARK     TWAIN 

stubbomest  ruffians  to  terms;  and  that  no  man  had 
been  found  with  grit  enough  to  keep  his  emotions  to 
himself  beyond  the  ninth  blow;  as  a  rule  the  man 
shrieked  earHer.  That  penalty  had  a  great  and 
wholesome  effect  upon  the  garroters  and  wife-beaters ; 
but  humane  modem  London  could  not  endure  it;  it 
got  its  law  rescinded.  Many  a  bruised  and  battered 
English  wife  has  since  had  occasion  to  deplore  that 
cruel  achievement  of  sentimental  "humanity." 

Twenty -five  lashes!  In  Australia  and  Tasmania 
they  gave  a  convict  fifty  for  almost  any  Httle  offense ; 
and  sometimes  a  brutal  officer  would  add  fifty,  and 
then  another  fifty,  and  so  on,  as  long  as  the  sufferer 
could  endure  the  torture  and  Hve.  In  Tasmania  I 
read  the  entry,  in  an  old  manuscript  official  record, 
of  a  case  where  a  convict  was  given  three  hundred 
lashes — for  stealing  some  silver  spoons.  And  men 
got  more  than  that,  sometimes.  Who  handled  the 
cat?  Often  it  was  another  convict;  sometimes  it 
was  the  culprit's  dearest  comrade;  and  he  had  to 
lay  on  with  all  his  might;  otherwise  he  would  get  a 
flogging  himself  for  his  mercy — ^for  he  was  under 
watch — and  yet  not  do  his  friend  any  good:  the 
friend  would  be  attended  to  by  another  hand  and 
suffer  no  lack  in  the  matter  of  full  punishment. 

The  convict  life  in  Tasmania  was  so  imendurable, 
and  suicide  so  difficult  to  accomplish,  that  once  or 
twice  despairing  men  got  together  and  drew  straws 
to  determine  which  of  them  should  kill  another  of 
the  group — this  murder  to  secure  death  to  the  per- 
petrator and  to  the  witnesses  of  it  by  the  hand  of 
the  hangman ! 

I02 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

The  incidents  quoted  above  are  mere  hints,  mere 
suggestions  of  what  convict  Hfe  was  like — they  are 
but  a  couple  of  details  tossed  into  view  out  of  a 
shoreless  sea  of  such;  or,  to  change  the  figure,  they 
are  but  a  pair  of  flaming  steeples  photographed 
from  a  point  which  hides  from  sight  the  burning  city 
which  stretches  away  from  their  bases  on  every  hand. 

Some  of  the  convicts — indeed,  a  good  many  of 
them — were  very  bad  people,  even  for  that  day ;  but 
the  most  of  them  were  probably  not  noticeably  worse 
than  the  average  of  the  people  they  left  behind  them 
at  home.  We  must  believe  this;  we  cannot  avoid 
it.  We  are  obliged  to  believe  that  a  nation  that 
could  look  on,  unmoved,  and  see  starving  or  freezing 
women  hanged  for  stealing  twenty-six  cents'  worth 
of  bacon  or  rags,  and  boys  snatched  from  their 
mothers,  and  men  from  their  families,  and  sent  to 
the  other  side  of  the  world  for  long  terms  of  years 
for  similar  trifling  offenses,  was  a  nation  to  whom 
the  term  "civilized"  could  not  in  any  large  way  be 
applied.  And  we  must  also  believe  that  a  nation 
that  knew,  during  more  than  forty  years,  what  was 
happening  to  those  exiles  and  was  still  content  with 
it,  was  not  advancing  in  any  showy  way  toward  a 
higher  grade  of  civilization. 

If  we  look  into  the  characters  and  conduct  of  the 
officers  and  gentlemen  who  had  charge  of  the  con- 
victs and  attended  to  their  backs  and  stomachs,  we 
must  grant  again  that  as  between  the  convict  and  his 
masters,  and  between  both  and  the  nation  at  home, 
there  was  a  quite  noticeable  monotony  of  sameness. 

Four  years  had  gone  by,  and  many  convicts  had 

103 


MARK     TWAIN 

come.  Respectable  settlers  were  beginning  to  arrive. 
These  two  classes  of  colonists  had  to  be  protected, 
in  case  of  trouble  among  themselves  or  with  the 
natives.  It  is  proper  to  mention  the  natives,  though 
they  could  hardly  count,  they  were  so  scarce.  At 
a  time  when  they  had  not  as  yet  begun  to  be  much 
disturbed — not  as  yet  being  in  the  way — it  was  esti- 
mated that  in  New  South  Wales  there  was  but  one 
native  to  forty-five  thousand  acres  of  territory. 

People  had  to  be  protected.  Officers  of  the  regular 
army  did  not  want  this  service — away  off  there 
where  neither  honor  nor  distinction  was  to  be  gained. 
So  England  recruited  and  officered  a  kind  of  militia 
force  of  one  thousand  uniformed  civilians  called  the 
''New  South  Wales  Corps"  and  shipped  it. 

This  was  the  worst  blow  of  all.  The  colony  fairly 
staggered  under  it.  The  Corps  was  an  object-lesson 
of  the  moral  condition  of  England  outside  of  the 
jails.  The  colonists  trembled.  It  was  feared  that 
next  there  would  be  an  importation  of  the  nobility. 

In  those  early  days  the  colony  was  non-supporting. 
All  the  necessaries  of  life — ^food,  clothing,  and  all — 
were  sent  out  from  England,  and  kept  in  great 
government  storehouses,  and  given  to  the  convicts 
and  sold  to  the  settlers — sold  at  a  trifling  advance 
upon  cost.  The  Corps  saw  its  opportunity.  Its 
officers  went  into  commerce,  and  in  a  most  lawless 
way.  They  went  to  importing  rum,  and  also  to 
manufacturing  it  in  private  stills,  in  defiance  of  the 
government's  commands  and  protests.  They  leagued 
themselves  together  and  ruled  the  market ;  they  boy- 
cotted the  government  and  the  other  dealers;   they 

104 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

established  a  close  monopoly  and  kept  it  strictly  in 
their  own  hands.  When  a  vessel  arrived  with  spirits, 
they  allowed  nobody  to  buy  but  themselves,  and 
they  forced  the  owner  to  sell  to  them  at  a  price 
named  by  themselves — and  it  was  always  low  enough. 
They  bought  rum  at  an  average  of  two  dollars  a 
gallon  and  sold  it  at  an  average  of  ten.  They  made 
rum  the  currency  of  the  country — for  there  was  little 
or  no  money — and  they  maintained  their  devastating 
hold  and  kept  the  colony  under  their  heel  for  eighteen 
or  twenty  years  before  they  were  finally  conquered 
and  routed  by  the  government. 

Meantime,  they  had  spread  intemperance  every- 
where. And  they  had  squeezed  farm  after  farm  out 
of  the  settlers'  hands  for  rum,  and  thus  had  boun- 
tifully enriched  themselves.  When  a  farmer  was 
caught  in  the  last  agonies  of  thirst  they  took  advan- 
tage of  him  and  sweated  him  for  a  drink. 

In  one  instance  they  sold  a  man  a  gallon  of  rum 
worth  two  dollars  for  a  piece  of  property  which  was 
sold  some  years  later  for  one  hundred  thousand 
dollars. 

When  the  colony  was  about  eighteen  or  twenty 
years  old  it  was  discovered  that  the  land  was  special- 
ly fitted  for  the  wool  culture.  Prosperity  followed, 
commerce  with  the  world  began,  by  and  by  rich 
mines  of  the  noble  metals  were  opened,  immigrants 
flowed  in,  capital  likewise.  The  result  is  the  great 
and  wealthy  and  enlightened  commonwealth  of  New 
South  Wales. 

It  is  a  country  that  is  rich  in  mines,  wool  ranches, 
trams,  railways,  steamship  lines,  schools,  newspapers, 

105 


MARK     TWAIN 

botanical  gardens,  art-galleries,  libraries,  museums, 
hospitals,  learned  societies ;  it  is  the  hospitable  home 
of  every  species  of  culture  and  of  every  species  of 
material  enterprise,  and  there  is  a  church  at  every 
man's  door,  and  a  race-track  over  the  way. 


II 


CHAPTER  XI 

SYDNEY ENGLISH  WITH  AMERICAN  TRIMMINGS 

We  shotild  be  careful  to  get  out  of  an  experience  only  the  wisdom  that  is  in  it — 
and  stop  there;  lest  we  be  like  the  cat  that  sits  down  on  a  hot  stove-lid.  She 
will  never  sit  down  on  a  hot  stove-lid  again — and  that  is  well;  but  also  she  will 
never  sit  down  on  a  cold  one  any  more. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

ALL  English-Speaking  colonies  are  made  up  of 
L  lavishly  hospitable  people,  and  New  South 
Wales  and  its  capital  are  like  the  rest  in  this.  The 
English-speaking  colony  of  the  United  States  of 
America  is  always  called  lavishly  hospitable  by  the 
English  traveler.  As  to  the  other  English-speaking 
colonies  throughout  the  world  from  Canada  all 
aroimd,  I  know  by  experience  that  the  description 
fits  them,  I  will  not  go  more  particularly  into  this 
matter,  for  I  find  that  when  writers  try  to  distribute 
their  gratitude  here  and  there  and  yonder  by  detail 
they  run  across  difficulties  and  do  some  ungraceful 
stumbling. 

Mr.  Gane  {New  South  Wales  and  Victoria  in  i88j) 
tried  to  distribute  his  gratitude,  and  was  not  lucky : 

The  inhabitants  of  Sydney  are  renowned  for  their  hospitality. 
The  treatment  which  we  experienced  at  the  hands  of  this  gener- 
ous-hearted people  will  help  more  than  anything  else  to  make 
us  recollect  with  pleasure  our  stay  amongst  them.  In  the  char- 
acter of  hosts  and  hostesses  they  excel.  The  *'  new  chum  "  needs 
only  the  acquaintanceship  of  one  of  their  number,  and  he  becomes 
at  once  the  happy  recipient  of  numerous  complimentary  invita- 
tions and  thoughtful  kindnesses.  Of  the  towns  it  has  been  our 
good  fortune  to  visit,  none  have  portrayed  home  so  faithfully  as 
Sydney. 

107 


MARK     TWAIN 

Nobody  could  say  it  finer  than  that.  If  he  had 
put  in  his  cork  then,  and  stayed  away  from  Dubbo 
— ^but  no;  heedless  man,  he  pulled  it  again.  Pulled 
it  when  he  was  away  along  in  his  book,  and  his 
memory  of  what  he  had  said  about  Sydney  had 
grown  dim: 

We  cannot  quit  the  promising  town  of  Dubbo  without  testify- 
ing, in  warm  praise,  to  the  kind-hearted  and  hospitable  usages 
of  its  inhabitants.  Sydney,  though  well  deserving  the  character 
it  bears  of  its  kindly  treatment  of  strangers,  possesses  a  little 
formaUty  and  reserve.  In  Dubbo,  on  the  contrary,  though  the 
same  congenial  manners  prevail,  there  is  a  pleasing  degree  of 
respectful  familiarity  which  gives  the  town  a  homely  comfort 
not  often  met  with  elsewhere.  In  laying  on  one  side  our  pen 
we  feel  contented  in  ha\'ing  been  able,  though  so  late  in  this 
work,  to  bestow  a  panegyric,  however  impretentious,  on  a  town 
which,  though  possessing  no  picturesque  nattu^al  surrotmdings, 
nor  interesting  architectural  productions,  has  yet  a  body  of 
citizens  whose  hearts  cannot  but  obtain  for  their  town  a  reputa- 
tion for  benevolence  and  kind-heartedness. 

I  wonder  what  soured  him  on  Sydney.  It  seems 
strange  that  a  pleasing  degree  of  three  or  f  otir  fingers 
of  respectful  familiarity  should  fill  a  man  up  and 
give  him  the  panegyrics  so  bad.  For  he  has  them, 
the  worst  way — any  one  can  see  that.  A  man  who 
is  perfectly  at  himself  does  not  throw  cold  detraction 
at  people's  architectural  productions  and  pictiu-esque 
surroundings,  and  let  on  that  what  he  prefers  is  a 
Dubbonese  dust-storm  and  a  pleasing  degree  of 
respectful  familiarity.  No,  these  are  old,  old  symp- 
toms ;  and  when  they  appear  we  know  that  the  man 
has  got  the  panegyrics. 

Sydney  has  a  population  of  four  hundred  thousand. 
When  a  stranger  from  America  steps  ashore  there, 

io8 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

the  first  thing  that  strikes  him  is  that  the  place  is 
eight  or  nine  times  as  large  as  he  was  expecting  it  to 
be;  and  the  next  thing  that  strikes  him  is  that  it  is 
an  English  city  with  American  trimmings.  Later  on, 
in  Melbourne,  he  will  find  the  American  trimmings 
still  more  in  evidence;  there,  even  the  architecture 
will  often  suggest  America;  a  photograph  of  its 
stateliest  business  street  might  be  passed  upon  him 
for  a  picture  of  the  finest  street  in  a  large  American 
city.  I  was  told  that  the  most  of  the  fine  residences 
were  the  city  residences  of  squatters.  The  name 
seemed  out  of  focus  somehow.  When  the  explana- 
tion came,  it  offered  a  new  instance  of  the  curious 
changes  which  words,  as  well  as  animals,  tmdergo 
through  change  of  habitat  and  cHmate.  With  us, 
when  you  speak  of  a  squatter  you  are  always  supposed 
to  be  speaking  of  a  poor  man,  but  in  Australia  when 
you  speak  of  a  squatter  you  are  supposed  to  be 
speaking  of  a  millionaire;  in  America  the  word 
indicates  the  possessor  of  a  few  acres  and  a  doubtful 
title,  in  AustraHa  it  indicates  a  man  whose  land 
front  is  as  long  as  a  railroad,  and  whose  title  has 
been  perfected  in  one  way  or  another;  in  America 
the  word  indicates  a  man  who  owns  a  dozen  head  of 
live  stock,  in  Australia  a  man  who  owns  anywhere 
from  fifty  thousand  up  to  half  a  million  head;  in 
America  the  word  indicates  a  man  who  is  obsciire 
and  not  important,  in  Australia  a  man  who  is  promi- 
nent and  of  the  first  importance;  in  America  you 
take  off  your  hat  to  no  squatter,  in  Australia  you  do ; 
in  America  if  your  uncle  is  a  squatter  you  keep  it 
dark,  in  Australia  you  advertise  it;    in  America  if 

109 


MARK     TWAIN 

your  friend  is  a  squatter  nothing  comes  of  it,  but 
with  a  squatter  for  your  friend  in  Australia  you  may 
sup  with  kings  if  there  are  any  around. 

In  Australia  it  takes  about  two  acres  and  a  half  of 
pasture-land  (some  people  sa}^  t\%ice  as  many)  to 
support  a  sheep;  and  when  the  squatter  has  half  a 
million  sheep  his  private  domain  is  about  as  large  as 
Rhode  Island,  to  speak  in  general  terms.  His 
annual  wool  crop  may  be  worth  a  quarter  or  a  half 
million  dollars. 

He  will  Hve  in  a  palace  in  Melbourne  or  Sydney 
or  some  other  of  the  large  cities,  and  make  occasional 
trips  to  his  sheep-kingdom  several  hundred  miles 
away  in  the  great  plains  to  look  after  his  battalions 
of  riders  and  shepherds  and  other  hands.  He  has  a 
commodious  dwelling  out  there,  and  if  he  approve 
of  you  he  will  invite  you  to  spend  a  week  in  it,  and 
will  make  you  at  home  and  comfortable,  and  let  you 
see  the  great  industry'-  in  all  its  details,  and  feed  3'ou 
and  slake  you  and  smoke  you  with  the  best  that 
money  can  buy. 

On  at  least  one  of  these  vast  estates  there  is  a  con- 
siderable town,  with  aU  the  various  businesses  and 
occupations  that  go  to  make  an  important  town; 
and  the  town  and  the  land  it  stands  upon  are  the 
property  of  the  squatters.  I  have  seen  that  town, 
and  it  is  not  imlikely  that  there  are  other  squatter- 
owned  towns  in  Australia. 

Australia  supplies  the  world  not  only  with  fine 
wool,  but  with  mutton  also.  The  modem  invention 
of  cold  storage  and  its  application  in  ships  has 
created  this  great  trade.     In  Sydney  I  visited  a  huge 

no 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

estabHshinent  where  they  kill  and  clean  and  solidly 
freeze  a  thousand  sheep  a  day,  for  shipment  to 
England. 

The  Australians  did  not  seem  to  me  to  differ 
noticeably  from  Americans,  either  in  dress,  carriage, 
ways,  pronunciation,  inflections,  or  general  appear- 
ance. There  were  fleeting  and  subtle  suggestions  of 
their  English  origin,  but  these  were  not  pronoimced 
enough,  as  a  rule,  to  catch  one's  attention.  The 
people  have  easy  and  cordial  manners  from  the  be- 
ginning— from  the  moment  that  the  introduction  is 
completed.  This  is  American.  To  put  it  in  another 
way,  it  is  English  friendliness  with  the  English  shy- 
ness and  self -consciousness  left  out. 

Now  and  then — ^but  this  is  rare — one  hears  such 
words  as  piper  for  paper,  lydy  for  lady,  and  tyhle  for 
table  fall  from  lips  whence  one  would  not  expect 
such  pronunciations  to  come.  There  is  a  superstition 
prevalent  in  Sydney  that  this  pronunciation  is  an 
Australianism,  but  people  who  have  been  "home" 
— as  the  native  reverently  and  lovingly  caUs  England 
— ^know  better.  It  is  "costermonger."  All  over 
Australasia  this  pronunciation  is  nearly  as  common 
among  servants  as  it  is  in  Tendon  among  the  tmedu- 
cated  and  the  partially  educated  of  all  sorts  and  con- 
ditions of  people.  That  mislaid  y  is  rather  striking 
when  a  person  gets  enough  of  it  into  a  short  sentence 
to  enable  it  to  show  up.  In  the  hotel  in  Sydney 
the  chambermaid  said  one  morning: 

"The  tyble  is  set,  and  here  is  the  piper;  and  if 
the  lydy  is  ready  I'll  tell  the  wyter  to  bring  up  the 
breakfast." 

Ill 


MARK     TWAIN  * 

I  have  made  passing  mention,  a  moment  ago,  of 
the  native  Australasian's  custom  of  speaking  of  Eng- 
land as  "home."  It  was  always  pretty  to  hear  it, 
and  often  it  was  said  in  an  unconsciously  caressing 
way  that  made  it  touching;  in  a  way  which  trans- 
muted a  sentiment  into  an  embodiment,  and  made 
one  seem  to  see  Australasia  as  a  young  girl  stroking 
mother  England's  old  gray  head. 

In  the  Australasian  home  the  table-talk  is  vivacious 
and  tmembarrassed;  it  is  without  stiffness  or  re- 
straint. This  does  not  remind  one  of  England  so 
much  as  it  does  of  America.  But  Australasia  is 
strictly  democratic,  and  reserves  and  restraints  are 
things  that  are  bred  by  differences  of  rank. 

EngHsh  and  colonial  audiences  are  phenomenally 
alert  and  responsive.  Where  masses  of  people  are 
gathered  together  in  England,  caste  is  submerged, 
and  with  it  the  English  reserve;  equahty  exists  for 
the  moment,  and  every  individual  is  free;  so  free 
from  any  consciousness  of  fetters,  indeed,  that  the 
Englishman's  habit  of  watching  himself  and  guard- 
ing himself  against  any  injudicious  exposm*e  of  his 
feehngs  is  forgotten,  and  falls  into  abeyance — and 
to  such  a  degree,  indeed,  that  he  will  bravely  applaud 
all  by  himself  if  he  wants  to — an  exhibition  of  daring 
which  is  unusual  elsewhere  in  the  world. 

But  it  is  hard  to  move  a  new  English  acquaintance 
when  he  is  by  himself,  or  when  the  company  present 
is  small,  and  new  to  him.  He  is  on  his  guard  then, 
and  his  natiu*al  reserve  is  to  the  fore.  This  has  given 
him  the  false  reputation  of  being  without  humor 
and  without  the  appreciation  of  humor.    Americans 

112 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

are  not  Englishmen,  and  American  humor  is  not 
English  humor;  but  both  the  American  and  his 
humor  had  their  origin  in  England,  and  have  merely 
undergone  changes  brought  about  by  changed  con- 
ditions and  a  new  environment.  About  the  best 
humorous  speeches  I  have  yet  heard  were  a  couple 
that  were  made  in  Australia  at  club  suppers — one  of 
them  by  an  EngHshman,  the  other  by  an  Australian. 


CHAPTER  XII 

HANUMAN   STRONGER  THAN   SAMSON 

There  are  those  who  scoff  at  the  school -boy,  calling  him  frivolous  and  shallow. 
Yet  it  was  the  school-boy  who  said,  "Faith  is  believing  what  you  know  ain't  so." 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

IN  Sydney  I  had  a  large  dream,  and  in  the  course 
of  talk  I  told  it  to  a  missionary  from  India  who 
was  on  his  way  to  visit  some  relatives  in  New  Zea- 
land. I  dreamed  that  the  visible  tmiverse  is  the 
physical  person  of  God;  that  the  vast  worlds  that  we 
see  twinkling  millions  of  miles  apart  in  the  fields  of 
space  are  the  blood-corpuscles  in  His  veins ;  and  that 
we  and  the  other  creatures  are  the  microbes  that 
charge  with  multitudinous  life  the  corpuscles. 

Mr.  X.,  the  missionary,  considered  the  dream 
awhile,  then  said: 

It  is  not  surpassable  for  magnitude,  since  its  metes  and  boimds 
are  the  metes  and  bounds  of  the  imi verse  itself;  and  it  seems  to 
me  that  it  aknost  accounts  for  a  thing  which  is  otherwise  nearly 
unaccountable — ^the  origin  of  the  sacred  legends  of  the  Hindus. 
Perhaps  they  dream  them,  and  then  honestly  believe  them  to 
be  divine  revelations  of  fact.  It  looks  like  that,  for  the  legends 
are  built  on  so  vast  a  scale  that  it  does  not  seem  reasonable 
that  plodding  priests  would  happen  upon  such  colossal  fancies 
when  awake. 

He  told  some  of  the  legends,  and  said  that  they 
were  implicitly  believed  by  all  classes  of  Hindus, 
including  those  of  high  social  position  and  intel- 
ligence; and  he  said  that  this  universal  credulity  was 

114 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

a  great  hindrance  to  the  missionary  in  his  work. 
Then  he  said  something  Hke  this : 

At  home,  people  wonder  why  Christianity  does  not  make  faster 

i  progress  in  India.     They  hear  that  the  Indians  beHeve  easily, 

!  and  that  they  have  a  natural  trust  in  miracles  and  give  them  a 

1  hospitable  reception.     Then  they  argue  like  this:    since  the 

I  Indian  believes  easily,  place  Christianity  before  them  and  they 

must  believe;    coafirm  its  truths  by  the  Biblical  miracles,  and 

they  will  no  longer  doubt.     The  natural  deduction  is,  that  as 

Christianity  makes  but  indifferent  progress  in  India,  the  fault 

is  with  us:  we  are  not  fortunate  in  presenting  the  doctrines  and 

the  miracles. 

But  the  truth  is,  we  are  not  by  any  means  so  well  equipped 

t  as  they  think.     We  have  not  the  easy  task  that  they  imagine. 

I  To  use  a  military  figure,  we  are  sent  against  the  enemy  with 

I  good  powder  in  our  guns,  but  only  wads  for  bullets;  that  is  to 

\  say,  our  miracles  are  not  effective;  the  Hindus  do  not  care  for 

them;    they  have  more  extraordinary  ones  of  their  own.    All 

the  details  of  their  own  religion  are  proven  and  established  by 

miracles;   the  details  of  ours  must  be  proven  in  the  same  way. 

j  When  I  first  began  my  work  in  India  I  greatly  underestimated 

I  the  difficulties  thus  put  upon  my  task.     A  correction  was  not 

[  long  in  coming.     I  thought  as  our  friends  think  at  home — ^that 

to  prepare  my  childlike  wonder-lovers  to  listen  with  favor  to  my 

grave  message  I  only  needed  to  charm  the  way  to  it  with  wonders 

marvels,  miracles.     With  full  confidence  I  told  the  wonders 

performed  by  Samson,  the  strongest  man  that  had  ever  lived — 

for  so  I  called  him. 

At  first  I  saw  lively  anticipation  and  strong  interest  in  the 
faces  of  my  people,  but  as  I  moved  along  from  incident  to  incident 
of  the  great  story,  I  was  distressed  to  see  that  I  was  steadily 
losing  the  sjmipathy  of  my  audience.  I  could  not  understand 
it.  It  was  a  surprise  to  me,  and  a  disappointment.  Before  I 
was  through,  the  fading  sympathy  had  paled  to  indifference. 
Thence  to  the  end  the  indifference  remained;  I  was  not  able  to 
make  any  impression  upon  it. 

A  good  old  Hindu  gentleman  told  me  where  my  trouble  lay. 
He  said:  "  We  Hindus  recognize  a  god  by  the  work  of  his  hands — 
we  accept  no  other  testimony.    Apparently,  this  is  also  the  rule 

115 


MARK    TWAIN 


1 


with  you  Christians.  And  we  know  when  a  man  has  his  power 
from  a  god  by  the  fact  that  he  does  things  which  he  could  not 
do,  as  a  man,  with  th§  mere  powers  of  a  man.  Plainly,  this  is 
the  Christian's  way  also,  of  knowing  when  a  man  is  working 
by  a  god's  power  and  not  by  his  own.  You  saw  that  there  was 
a  supernatural  property  in  the  hair  of  Samson;  for  you  per- 
ceived that  when  his  hair  was  gone  he  was  as  other  men.  It 
is  our  way,  as  I  have  said.  There  are  many  nations  in  the  world, 
and  each  group  of  nations  has  its  own  gods,  and  will  pay  no  wor- 
ship to  the  gods  of  the  others.  Each  group  believes  its  own 
gods  to  be  strongest,  and  it  will  not  exchange  them  except  for 
gods  that  shall  be  proven  to  be  their  superiors  in  power.  Man 
is  but  a  weak  creature,  and  needs  the  help  of  gods — he  cannot  do 
without  it.  Shall  he  place  his  fate  in  the  hands  of  weak  gods 
when  there  may  be  stronger  ones  to  be  found?  That  would 
be  foolish.  No,  if  he  hear  of  gods  that  are  stronger  than  his 
own,  he  should  not  turn  a  deaf  ear,  for  it  is  not  a  light  matter 
that  is  at  stake.  How  then  shall  he  determine  which  gods  are 
the  stronger,  his  own  or  those  that  preside  over  the  concerns  of 
other  nations?  By  comparing  the  known  works  of  his  own 
gods  with  the  works  of  those  others;  there  is  no  other  way. 
Now,  when  we  make  this  comparison,  we  are  not  drawn  toward 
the  gods  of  any  other  nation.  Our  gods  are  shown  by  their 
works  to  be  the  strongest,  the  most  powerful.  The  Christians 
have  but  few  gods,  and  they  are  new — new,  and  not  strong,  as 
it  seems  to  us.  They  will  increase  in  number,  it  is  true,  for  this 
has  happened  with  all  gods,  but  that  time  is  far  away,  many 
ages  and  decades  of  ages  away,  for  gods  multiply  slowly,  as  is 
meet  for  beings  to  whom  a  thousand  years  is  but  a  single  moment. 
Our  own  gods  have  been  bom  millions  of  years  apart.  The 
process  is  slow,  the  gathering  of  strength  and  power  is  similarly 
slow.  In  the  slow  lapse  of  the  ages  the  steadily  accumulating 
power  of  our  gods  has  at  last  become  prodigious.  We  have  a 
thousand  proofs  of  this  in  the  colossal  character  of  their  personal 
acts  and  the  acts  of  ordinary  men  to  whom  they  have  given 
supernatural  qualities.  To  your  Samson  was  given  supernatural 
power,  and  when  he  broke  the  withes,  and  slew  the  thousands! 
with  the  jawbone  of  an  ass,  and  carried  away  the  gates  of  the 
city  upon  his  shoulders,  you  were  amazed — and  also  awed,  for 
you  recognized  the  divine  source  of  his  strength.  But  it  could 
not  profit  to  place  these  things  before  your  Hindu  congregation  j 

ii6 


FOLLOWING    THE    EQUATOR 

and  invite  their  wonder;  for  they  would  compare  them  with  the 
deed  done  by  Hanuman,  when  our  gods  infused  their  divine 
i  strength  into  his  muscles;  and  they  would  be  indifferent  to  them 
I  — as  you  saw.  In  the  old,  old  times,  ages  and  ages  gone  by,  when 
I  our  god  Rama  was  warring  with  the  demon  god  of  Ceylon, 
I  Rama  bethought  him  to  bridge  the  sea  and  connect  Ceylon  with 
India,  so  that  his  armies  might  pass  easily  over;  and  he  sent 
his  general,  Hanuman,  inspired  like  your  own  Samson  with  divine 
strength,  to  bring  the  materials  for  the  bridge.  In  two  days 
Hanuman  strode  fifteen  hundred  miles,  to  the  Himalayas,  and 
took  upon  his  shoulder  a  range  of  those  lofty  mountains  two 
hundred  miles  long,  and  started  with  it  toward  Ceylon.  It  was 
in  the  night;  and,  as  he  passed  along  the  plain,  the  people  of 
Govardhun  heard  the  thunder  of  his  tread  and  felt  the  earth 
rocking  under  it,  and  they  ran  out,  and  there,  with  their  snowy 
summits  piled  to  heaven,  they  saw  the  Himalayas  passing  by. 
And  as  this  huge  continent  swept  along  overshadowing  the  earth, 
upon  its  slopes  they  discerned  the  twinkling  lights  of  a  thousand 
sleeping  villages,  and  it  was  as  if  the  constellations  were  filing 
in  procession  through  the  sky.  While  they  were  looking,  Hanu- 
man stumbled,  and  a  small  ridge  of  red  sandstone  twenty  miles 
long  was  jolted  loose  and  fell.  Half  of  its  length  has  wasted 
away  in  the  course  of  the  ages,  but  the  other  ten  miles  of  it 
remain  in  the  plain  by  Govardhun  to  this  day  as  proof  of  the 
might  of  the  inspiration  of  our  gods.  You  must  know,  yourself, 
that  Hanuman  could  not  have  carried  those  mountains  to 
Ceylon  except  by  the  strength  of  the  gods.  You  know  that  it 
was  not  done  by  his  own  strength,  therefore  you  know  that  it 
was  done  by  the  strength  of  the  gods,  just  as  you  know  that 
Samson  carried  the  gates  by  the  divine  strength  and  not  by  his 
own.  I  think  you  must  concede  two  things:  First,  That  in 
canying  the  gates  of  the  city  upon  his  shoulders,  Samson  did 
not  establish  the  superiority  of  his  gods  over  ours;  secondly, 
That  his  feat  is  not  supported  by  any  but  verbal  evidence,  while 
Hanuman's  is  not  only  supported  by  verbal  evidence,  but  this 
evidence  is  confirmed,  established,  proven,  by  visible,  tangible 
evidence,  which  is  the  strongest  of  all  testimony.  We  have  the 
sandstone  ridge,  and  while  it  remains  we  cannot  doubt,  and 
shall  not.     Have  you  the  gates ?'^ 


CHAPTER  XIII 

WHAT  CECIL  RHODES  FOUND   IN  A   SHARK 

The  timid  man  yearns  for  full  value  and  demands  a  tenth.     The  bold  man 
strikes  for  double  value  and  compromises  on  par. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

ONE  is  sure  to  be  struck  by  the  liberal  way  in 
which  Australasia  spends  money  upon  public 
works — such  as  legislative  buildings,  town -halls, 
hospitals,  asylums,  parks,  and  botanical  gardens.  I 
should  say  that  where  minor  towns  in  America  spend 
a  hundred  dollars  on  the  town-hall  and  on  public 
parks  and  gardens  the  like  towns  in  Australasia 
spend  a  thousand.  And  I  think  that  this  ratio  will 
hold  good  in  the  matter  of  hospitals,  also.  I  have 
seen  a  costly  and  well-equipped  and  architecturally 
handsome  hospital  in  an  Australian  village  of  fifteen 
himdred  inhabitants.  It  was  built  by  private  funds 
furnished  by  the  villagers  and  the  neighboring  plant- 
ers, and  its  running  expenses  were  drawn  from  the 
same  sources.  I  suppose  it  would  be  hard  to  match 
this  in  any  country.  This  village  was  about  to  close 
a  contract  for  lighting  the  streets  with  the  electric 
light,  when  I  was  there.  That  is  ahead  of  London. 
London  is  still  obscured  by  gas — gas  pretty  widely 
scattered,  too,  in  some  of  the  districts;  so  widely 
indeed,  that  except  on  moonlight  nights  it  is  difficult 
to  find  the  gas-lamps. 

The  botanical  garden  of  Sydney  covers  thirty- 

ii8 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

eight  acres,  beautifully  laid  out  and  rich  with  the 
spoil  of  all  the  lands  and  all  the  climes  of  the  world. 
The  garden  is  on  high  ground  in  the  middle  of  the 
town,  overlooking  the  great  harbor,  and  it  adjoins 
the  spacious  grounds  of  Government  House — fifty- 
six  acres;  and  at  hand,  also,  is  a  recreation-ground 
containing  eighty-two  acres.  In  addition,  there  are 
the  zoological  gardens,  the  race-course,  and  the  great 
cricket-groimds  where  the  international  matches  are 
played.  Therefore  there  is  plenty  of  room  for  repose- 
ful lazying  and  lounging,  and  for  exercise  too,  for 
such  as  like  that  kind  of  work. 

There  are  four  specialties  attainable  in  the  way  of 
social  pleasure.  If  you  enter  your  name  on  the 
Visitors'  Book  at  Government  House  you  wiU  re- 
ceive an  invitation  to  the  next  ball  that  takes  place 
there,  if  nothing  can  be  proven  against  you.  And 
it  will  be  very  pleasant;  for  you  will  see  everybody 
except  the  Governor,  and  add  a  ntmiber  of  acquaint- 
ances and  several  friends  to  your  list.  The  Governor 
will  be  in  England.  He  always  is.  The  continent 
has  four  or  five  governors,  and  I  do  not  know  how 
many  it  takes  to  govern  the  outlying  archipelago; 
but  anyway  you  will  not  see  them.  When  they  are 
appointed  they  come  out  from  England  and  get 
inaugurated,  and  give  a  ball,  and  help  pray  for  rain, 
and  get  aboard  ship  and  go  back  home.  And  so 
the  Lieutenant-Governor  has  to  do  all  the  work.  I 
was  in  Australasia  three  months  and  a  half,  and  saw 
only  one  Governor.     The  others  were  at  home. 

The  Australasian  Governor  would  not  be  so  rest- 
less, perhaps,  if  he  had  a  war,  or  a  veto,  or  some- 

119 


MARK     TWAIN 

thing  like  that  to  call  for  his  reserve  energies,  but  he 
hasn't.  There  isn't  any  war,  and  there  isn't  any 
veto  in  his  hands.  And  so  there  is  really  little  or 
nothing  doing  in  his  line.  The  country  governs 
itself,  and  prefers  to  do  it ;  and  is  so  strenuous  about 
it  and  so  jealous  of  its  independence  that  it  grows 
restive  if  even  the  Imperial  Government  at  home 
proposes  to  help;  and  so  the  Imperial  veto,  while  a 
fact,  is  yet  mainly  a  name. 

Thus  the  Governor's  fimctions  are  much  more 
limited  than  are  a  Governor's  fimctions  with  us. 
And  therefore  more  fatiguing.  He  is  the  apparent 
head  of  the  State,  he  is  the  real  head  of  Society. 
He  represents  culture,  refinement,  elevated  senti- 
ment, polite  life,  religion;  and  by  his  example  he 
propagates  these,  and  they  spread  and  floiuish  and 
bear  fruit.  He  creates  the  fashion,  and  leads  it. 
His  ball  is  the  ball  of  balls,  and  his  coimtenance 
makes  the  horse-race  thrive. 

He  is  usually  a  lord,  and  this  is  well ;  for  his  posi- 
tion compels  him  to  lead  an  expensive  life,  and  an 
English  lord  is  generally  well  equipped  for  that. 

Another  of  Sydney's  social  pleasures  is  the  visit  to 
the  Admiralty  House;  which  is  nobly  situated  on 
high  ground  overlooking  the  water.  The  trim  boats 
of  the  service  convey  the  guests  thither;  and  there, 
or  on  board  the  flagship,  they  have  the  dupHcate 
of  the  hospitalities  of  Government  House.  The 
Admiral  commanding  a  station  in  British  waters  is  a 
magnate  of  the  first  degree,  and  he  is  sumptuously 
housed,  as  becomes  the  dignity  of  his  office. 

Third  in  the  list  of  special  pleasures  is  the  tour  of 

I20 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

the  harbor  in  a  fine  steam  pleasure  launch.  Your 
richer  friends  own  boats  of  this  kind,  and  they  will 
invite  you,  and  the  joys  of  the  trip  will  make  a  long 
day  seem  short. 

And  finally  comes  the  shark-fishing.  Sydney  har- 
bor is  populous  with  the  finest  breeds  of  man-eating 
sharks  in  the  world.  Some  people  make  their  living 
catching  them;  for  the  Government  pays  a  cash 
boimty  on  them.  The  larger  the  shark  the  larger 
the  bounty,  and  some  of  the  sharks  are  twenty  feet 
long.  You  not  only  get  the  boimty,  but  everything 
that  is  in  the  shark  belongs  to  you.  Sometimes  the 
contents  are  quite  valuable. 

The  shark  is  the  swiftest  fish  that  swims.  The 
speed  of  the  fastest  steamer  afloat  is  poor  compared 
to  his.  And  he  is  a  great  gad-about,  and  roams  far 
and  wide  in  the  oceans,  and  visits  the  shores  of  all  of 
them,  ultimately,  in  the  course  of  his  restless  excur- 
sions. I  have  a  tale  to  tell  now,  which  has  not  as 
yet  been  in  print.  In  1870  a  young  stranger  arrived 
in  Sydney,  and  set  about  finding  something  to  do; 
but  he  knew  no  one,  and  brought  no  recommenda- 
tions, and  the  result  was  that  he  got  no  employment. 
He  had  aimed  high,  at  first,  but  as  time  and  his 
money  wasted  away  he  grew  less  and  less  exacting, 
imtil  at  last  he  was  willing  to  serve  in  the  humblest 
capacities  if  so  he  might  get  bread  and  shelter.  But 
luck  was  still  against  him;  he  could  find  no  opening 
of  any  sort.  Finally  his  money  was  all  gone.  He 
walked  the  streets  all  day,  thinking;  he  walked  them 
all  night,  thinking,  thinking,  and  growing  htmgrier 
and  hungrier.     At  dawn  he  found  himself  well  away 

121 


MARK     TWAIN 

from  the  town  and  drifting  aimlessly  along  the  harbor 
shore.  As  he  was  passing  by  a  nodding  shark-fisher 
the  man  looked  up  and  said: 

"Say,  young  fellow,  take  my  line  a  spell,  and 
change  my  luck  for  me." 

"How  do  you  know  I  won't  make  it  worse?" 

"Because  you  can't.  It  has  been  at  its  worst  all 
night.  If  you  can't  change  it,  no  harm's  done ;  if  you 
do  change  it,  it's  for  the  better,  of  course.    Come." 

"All  right,  what  will  you  give?" 

"I'll  give  you  the  shark,  if  you  catch  one." 

"And  I  will  eat  it,  bones  and  all.  Give  me  the 
line." 

"Here  you  are.  I  will  get  away,  now,  for  a  while, 
so  that  my  luck  won't  spoil  yours;  for  many  and 
many  a  time  I've  noticed  that  if — there,  pull  in,  pull 
in,  man,  you've  got  a  bite!  /  knew  how  it  would 
be.  Why,  I  knew  you  for  a  bom  son  of  luck  the 
minute  I  saw  you.     All  right — he's  landed." 

It  was  an  unusually  large  shark — "a  full  nineteen- 
footer,"  the  fisherman  said,  as  he  laid  the  creature 
open  with  his  knife. 

"Now  you  rob  him,  young  man,  while  I  step  to 
my  hamper  for  a  fresh  bait.  There's  generally 
something  in  them  worth  going  for.  You've  changed 
my  luck,  you  see.  But,  my  goodness,  I  hope  you 
haven't  changed  your  own." 

"Oh,  it  wouldn't  matter;  don't  worry  about  that. 
Get  your  bait.     I'll  rob  him." 

When  the  fisherman  got  back  the  young  man  had 
just  finished  washing  his  hands  in  the  bay  and  was 
starting  away. 

122 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

* '  What !    you  are  not  going  ? '  * 

"Yes.     Good-by." 

"But  what  about  your  shark?'* 

"The  shark?    Why,  what  use  is  he  to  me?" 

"What  use  is  he?  I  like  that.  Don't  you  know 
that  we  can  go  and  report  him  to  Government,  and 
you'll  get  a  clean  solid  eighty  shillings  bounty  ?  Hard 
cash,  you  know.    What  do  you  think  about  it  nowf** 

"Oh,  well,  you  can  collect  it." 

"Andfe^^^it?     Is  that  what  you  mean?** 

"Yes.'* 

"Well,  this  is  odd.  You*re  one  of  those  sort 
they  call  eccentrics,  I  judge.  The  saying  is,  you 
mustn't  judge  a  man  by  his  clothes,  and  I'm  believ- 
ing it  now.  Why  yours  are  looking  just  ratty,  don't 
you  know;   and  yet  you  must  be  rich.** 

"I  am." 

The  young  man  walked  slowly  back  to  the  town, 
deeply  musing  as  he  went.  He  halted  a  moment  in 
front  of  the  best  restaurant,  then  glanced  at  his 
clothes  and  passed  on,  and  got  his  breakfast  at  a 
"stand-up."  There  was  a  good  deal  of  it,  and  it 
cost  five  shillings.  He  tendered  a  sovereign,  got 
his  change,  glanced  at  his  silver,  muttered  to  him- 
self, "There  isn't  enough  to  buy  clothes  with,"  and 
went  his  way. 

At  half  past  nine  the  richest  wool-broker  in  Sydney 
was  sitting  in  his  morning-room  at  home,  settling 
his  breakfast  with  the  morning  paper.  A  servant 
put  his  head  in  and  said : 

"There's  a  sundowner  at  the  door  wants  to  see 
you,  sir." 

123 


MARK     TWAIN 

**What  do  you  bring  that  kind  of  a  message  here 
for?    Send  him  about  his  business." 

"He  won't  go,  sir.     I've  tried." 

**He  won't  go?  That's — why,  that's  unusual. 
He's  one  of  two  things,  then:  he's  a  remarkable 
person,  or  he's  crazy.     Is  he  crazy?" 

"No,  sir.     He  don't  look  it." 

"Then  he's  remarkable.  What  does  he  say  he 
wants?" 

"He  won't  tell,  sir;  only  says  it's  very  important." 

"And  won't  go.     Does  he  say  he  won't  go?" 

"Says  he'll  stand  there  till  he  sees  you,  sir,  if  it's 
all  day." 

"And  yet  isn't  crazy.     Show  him  up." 

The  simdowner  was  shown  in.  The  broker  said 
to  himself,  "No,  he's  not  crazy;  that  is  easy  to 
see;   so  he  must  be  the  other  thing." 

Then  aloud,  "Well,  my  good  fellow,  be  quick  about 
it;   don't  waste  any  words;   what  is  it  you  want?" 

"I  want  to  borrow  a  hundred  thousand  poimds." 

"Scott!  (It's  a  mistake;  he  is  crazy.  .  .  .  No — 
he  can*t  be — ^not  with  that  eye.)  Why,  you  take 
my  breath  away.     Come,  who  are  you?'* 

"Nobody  that  you  know." 

"What  is  your  name?" 

"Cecil  Rhodes." 

"No,  I  don't  remember  hearing  the  name  before. 
Now  then — ^just  for  curiosity's  sake — what  has  sent 
you  to  me  on  this  extraordinary  errand?" 

"The  intention  to  make  a  himdred  thousand 
pounds  for  you  and  as  much  for  myself  within  the 
next  sixty  days." 

124 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

**Well,  well,  well.  It  is  the  most  extraordinary 
idea  that  I — sit  down — ^you  interest  me.  And  some- 
how you — well,  you  fascinate  me,  I  think  that  that 
is  about  the  word.  And  it  isn't  yoiir  proposition — 
no,  that  doesn't  fascinate  me;  it's  something  else, 
I  don't  quite  know  what;  something  that's  bom 
in  you  and  oozes  out  of  you,  I  suppose.  Now  then 
— ^just  for  curiosity's  sake  again,  nothing  more:  as 
I  understand  it,  it  is  your  desire  to  bor — " 

"I  said  intention.'* 

' '  Pardon,  so  you  did.  I  thought  it  was  an  unheed- 
ful  use  of  the  word — an  unheedful  valuing  of  its 
strength,  you  know." 

**I  knew  its  strength." 

"Well,  I  must  say — but  look  here,  let  me  walk 
the  floor  a  little,  my  mind  is  getting  into  a  sort  of 
whirl,  though  you  don't  seem  disturbed  any.  (Plainly 
this  yoimg  fellow  isn't  crazy;  but  as  to  his  being 
remarkable — ^well,  really  he  amoimts  to  that,  and 
something  over.)  Now  then,  I  believe  I  am  beyond 
the  reach  of  further  astonishment.  Strike,  and 
spare  not.     What  is  your  scheme?" 

**To  buy  the  wool  crop  —  deliverable  in  sixty 
days." 

*'What,  the  whole  of  it?" 

"The  whole  of  it." 

"No,  I  was  not  quite  out  of  the  reach  of  surprises, 
after  all.  Why,  how  you  talk.  Do  you  know  what 
our  crop  is  going  to  foot  up?" 

"Two  and  a  half  million  sterling — maybe  a  little 
more." 

"Well,  you've  got  your  statistics  right,  anyway. 

125 


MARK     TWAIN 

Now  then,  do  you  know  what  the  margins  would 
foot  up,  to  buy  it  at  sixty  days?" 

"The  hundred  thousand  pounds  I  came  here  to 
get." 

"Right,  once  more.  Well,  dear  me,  just  to  see 
what  would  happen,  I  wish  you  had  the  money. 
And  if  you  had  it,  what  would  you  do  with  it?" 

"I  shall  make  two  hundred  thousand  pounds  out 
of  it  in  sixty  days." 

"You  mean,  of  course,  that  you  might  make  it  if — " 

"I  said,  'shall.'" 

"Yes,  by  George,  you  did  say  'shall'!  You  are 
the  most  definite  devil  I  ever  saw,  in  the  matter  of 
language.  Dear,  dear,  dear,  look  here!  Definite 
speech  means  clarity  of  mind.  Upon  my  word  I 
beUeve  you've  got  what  you  believe  to  be  a  rational 
reason  for  venturing  into  this  house,  an  entire 
stranger,  on  this  wild  scheme  of  buying  the  wool 
crop  of  an  entire  colony  on  speculation.  Bring  it 
out — I  am  prepared — acclimatized,  if  I  may  use 
the  word.  Why  would  you  buy  the  crop,  and  why 
would  you  make  that  sum  out  of  it  ?  That  is  to  say, 
what  makes  you  think  you — " 

"I  don't  think— I  know." 

"Definite  again.     How  do  you  know?" 

**  Because  France  has  declared  war  against  Ger- 
many, and  wool  has  gone  up  fourteen  per  cent,  in 
London  and  is  still  rising." 

"Oh,  in-deed?  Now  then,  IVe  got  you!  Such  a 
thimderbolt  as  you  have  just  let  fly  ought  to  have 
made  me  jump  out  of  my  chair,  but  it  didn't  stir  me 
the  least  little  bit,  you  see.     And  for  a  very  simple 

126 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

reason:  I  have  read  the  morning  paper.  You  can 
look  at  it  if  you  want  to.  The  fastest  ship  in  the 
service  arrived  at  eleven  o'clock  last  night,  fifty  days 
out  from  London.  All  her  news  is  printed  here. 
There  are  no  war-clouds  anywhere;  and  as  for 
wool,  why,  it  is  the  low-spiritedest  commodity  in 
the  English  market.  It  is  your  turn  to  jtmip, 
now.  .  .  .  Well,  why  don't  you  jump?  Why  do 
you  sit  there  in  that  placid  fashion,  when — '* 

"Because  I  have  later  news." 

"Later  news?  Oh,  come — later  news  than  fifty 
days,  brought  steaming  hot  from  London  by 
the—" 

"My  news  is  only  ten  days  old." 

* '  Oh,  Mun-chaMseUy  hear  the  maniac  talk !  Where 
did  you  get  it?" 

"Got  it  out  of  a  shark." 

"Oh,  oh,  oh,  this  is  too  much!  Front!  call  the 
police — bring  the  gun — ^raise  the  town!  All  the 
asylums  in  Christendom  have  broken  loose  in  the 
single  person  of — " 

"Sit  down!  And  collect  yourself.  Where  is  the 
use  in  getting  excited?  Am  I  excited?  There  is 
nothing  to  get  excited  about.  When  I  make  a  state- 
ment which  I  cannot  prove,  it  will  be  time  enough 
for  you  to  begin  to  offer  hospitality  to  damaging 
fancies  about  me  and  my  sanity." 

"Oh,  a  thousand  thousand  pardons!  I  ought  to 
be  ashamed  of  myself,  and  I  am  ashamed  of  myself 
for  thinking  that  a  Httle  bit  of  a  circumstance  like 
sending  a  shark  to  England  to  fetch  back  a  market 
report — " 

127 


MARK     TWAIN 

"What  does  your  middle  initial  stand  for,  sir?" 

"Andrew.    What  are  you  writing?" 

"Wait  a  moment.  Proof  about  the  shark — and 
another  matter.  Only  ten  lines.  There — now  it  is 
done.     Sign  it." 

"Many  thanks — many.  Let  me  see;  it  says — 
it  says — oh,  come,  this  is  interesting!  Why — why 
— ^look  here!  prove  what  you  say  here,  and  I'll  put 
up  the  money,  and  double  as  much,  if  necessary,  and 
divide  the  winnings  with  you,  half  and  half.  There, 
now — I've  signed;  make  your  promise  good  if  you 
can.  Show  me  a  copy  of  the  London  Times  only 
ten  days  old." 

'  *  Here  it  is — and  with  it  these  buttons  and  a  mem- 
orandimi-book  that  belonged  to  the  man  the  shark 
swallowed.  Swallowed  him  in  the  Thames,  without 
a  doubt;  for  you  will  notice  that  the  last  entry  in 
the  book  is  dated  'Ix)ndon,'  and  is  of  the  same  date 
as  the  Times,  and  says  '  $er  confequeng  ter  ^rtege^erfla^ 
rung,  rctfc  i^  ()eute  na^  Deutfc^lanb  ah,  auf  tag  ic^  mcin 
Seben  auf  bcm  5lltar  meine^  ?ant)C^  Icgen  mag' — as  clean 
native  German  as  anybody  can  put  upon  paper, 
and  means  that  in  consequence  of  the  declara- 
tion of  war,  this  loyal  soul  is  leaving  for  home 
to-day,  to  fight.  And  he  did  leave,  too,  but  the 
shark  had  him  before  the  day  was  done,  poor  fel- 
low." 

"And  a  pity,  too.  But  there  are  times  for  mourn- 
ing, and  we  wiU  attend  to  this  case  further  on ;  other 
matters  are  pressing,  now.  I  will  go  down  and  set 
the  machinery  in  motion  in  a  quiet  way  and  buy  the 
crop.     It  will  cheer  the  drooping  spirits  of  the  boys, 

128 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

in  a  transitory  way.  Everything  is  transitory  in  this 
world.  Sixty  days  hence,  when  they  are  called  to 
deliver  the  goods,  they  will  think  they've  been  struck 
by  Hghtning.  But  there  is  a  time  for  mourning,  and 
we  will  attend  to  that  case  along  with  the  other  one. 
Come  along,  I'll  take  you  to  my  tailor.  What  did 
you  say  your  name  is?" 

''Cecil  Rhodes." 

"It  is  hard  to  remember.  However,  I  think  you 
will  make  it  easier  by  and  by,  if  you  live.  There 
are  three  kinds  of  people — Commonplace  Men, 
Remarkable  Men,  and  Lunatics.  I'll  classify  you 
with  the  Remarkables,  and  take  the  chances." 

The  deal  went  through,  and  secured  to  the  yoimg 
stranger  the  first  fortune  he  ever  pocketed. 

The  people  of  Sydney  ought  to  be  afraid  of  the 
sharks,  but  for  some  reason  they  do  not  seem  to 
be.  On  Satiu-days  the  young  men  go  out  in  their 
boats,  and  sometimes  the  water  is  fairly  covered  with 
the  little  sails.  A  boat  upsets  now  and  then,  by 
accident,  a  result  of  tumultuous  skylarking;  some- 
times the  boys  upset  their  boat  for  fun — such  as  it 
is — with  sharks  visibly  waiting  around  for  just  such 
an  occurrence.  The  young  fellows  scramble  aboard 
whole — sometimes — not  always.  Tragedies  have 
happened  more  than  once.  While  I  was  in  Sydney 
it  was  reported  that  a  boy  fell  out  of  a  boat  in  the 
mouth  of  the  Paramatta  River  and  screamed  for  help 
and  a  boy  jumped  overboard  from  another  boat  to 
save  him  from  the  assembling  sharks ;  but  the  sharks 
made  swift  work  with  the  lives  of  both. 

The  government  pays  a  bounty  for  the  shark;  to 
129 


MARK     TWAIN 

get  the  bounty  the  fishermen  bait  the  hook  or  the 
seine  with  agreeable  mutton;  the  news  spreads  and 
the  sharks  come  from  all  over  the  Pacific  Ocean  to 
get  the  free  board.  In  time  the  shark  culture  will  be 
one  of  the  most  successful  things  in  the  colony. 


CHAPTER  XIV 

ASTOUNDING  INTERCOLONIAL  JEALOUSY 

We  can  secure  other  people's  approval,  if  we  do  right  and  try  hard;  but  our  own 
is  worth  a  hxmdred  of  it,  and  no  way  has  been  found  out  of  securing  that. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

MY  health  had  broken  down  in  New  York  in 
.  May;  it  had  remained  in  a  doubtful  but  fairish 
condition  during  a  succeeding  period  of  eighty-two 
days;  it  broke  again  on  the  Pacific.  It  broke  again 
in  Sydney,  but  not  until  after  I  had  had  a  good  out- 
ing, and  had  also  filled  my  lecture  engagements. 
This  latest  break  lost  me  the  chance  of  seeing 
Queensland.  In  the  circumstances,  to  go  north 
toward  hotter  weather  was  not  advisable. 

So  we  moved  south  with  a  westward  slant,  seven- 
teen hours  by  rail  to  the  capital  of  the  colony  of  Vic- 
toria, Melbourne — that  juvenile  city  of  sixty  years, 
and  half  a  million  inhabitants.  On  the  map  the 
distance  looked  small ;  but  that  is  a  trouble  with  all 
divisions  of  distance  in  such  a  vast  country  as  Aus- 
tralia. The  colony  of  Victoria  itself  looks  small  on 
the  map — looks  like  a  county,  in  fact — yet  it  is  about 
as  large  as  England,  Scotland,  and  Wales  combined. 
Or,  to  get  another  focus  upon  it,  it  is  just  eighty 
times  as  large  as  the  state  of  Rhode  Island,  and  one 
third  as  large  as  the  state  of  Texas. 

Outside  of  Melbourne,  Victoria  seems  to  be  owned 
by  a  handful  of  squatters,  each  with  a  Rhode  Island 

131 


MARK     TWAIN 

for  a  sheep-farm.  That  is  the  impression  which  one 
gathers  from  common  talk,  yet  the  wool  industry  of 
Victoria  is  by  no  means  so  great  as  that  of  New 
South  Wales.  The  climate  of  Victoria  is  favorable 
to  other  great  industries — among  others,  wheat- 
growing  and  the  making  of  wine. 

We  took  the  train  at  Sydney  at  about  four  in  the 
afternoon.  It  was  American  in  one  way,  for  we  had 
a  most  rational  sleeping-car;  also  the  car  was  clean 
and  fine  and  new — nothing  about  it  to  suggest  the 
rolling-stock  of  the  continent  of  Europe.  But  our 
baggage  was  weighed,  and  extra  weight  charged  for. 
That  was  continental.  Continental  and  troublesome. 
Any  detail  of  railroading  that  is  not  troublesome  can- 
not honorably  be  described  as  continental. 

The  tickets  were  round-trip  ones — to  Melbourne, 
and  clear  to  Adelaide  in  South  Austraha,  and  then 
all  the  way  back  to  Sydney.  Twelve  himdred  more 
miles  than  we  really  expected  to  make;  but  then  as 
the  round  trip  wouldn't  cost  much  more  than  the 
single  trip,  it  seemed  well  enough  to  buy  as  many 
miles  as  one  could  afford,  even  if  one  was  not  likely 
to  need  them.  A  human  being  has  a  natural  desire 
to  have  more  of  a  good  thing  than  he  needs. 

Now  comes  a  singular  thing:  the  oddest  thing, 
the  strangest  thing,  the  most  baffing  and  imaccount- 
able  marvel  that  Australasia  can  show.  At  the 
frontier  between  New  South  Wales  and  Victoria  our 
multitude  of  passengers  were  routed  out  of  their 
snug  beds  by  lantern-light  in  the  morning  in  the 
biting  cold  of  a  high  altitude  to  change  cars  on  a 
road  that  has  no  break  in  it  from  Sydney  to  Mel- 

132 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

bourne!  Think  of  the  paralysis  of  intellect  that 
gave  that  idea  birth ;  imagine  the  boulder  it  emerged 
from  on  some  petrified  legislator's  shoulders. 

It  is  a  narrow-gage  road  to  the  frontier,  and  a 
broader  gage  thence  to  Melbourne.  The  two  gov- 
ernments were  the  builders  of  the  road  and  are  the 
owners  of  it.  One  or  two  reasons  are  given  for  this 
curious  state  of  things.  One  is,  that  it  represents 
the  jealousy  existing  between  the  colonies — the  two 
most  important  colonies  of  Australasia.  What  the 
other  one  is,  I  have  forgotten.  But  it  is  of  no  con- 
sequence. It  could  be  but  another  effort  to  explain 
the  inexplicable. 

All  passengers  fret  at  the  double-gage;  all  ship- 
pers of  freight  must  of  course  fret  at  it ;  unnecessary 
expense,  delay,  and  annoyance  are  imposed  upon 
everybody  concerned,  and  no  one  is  benefited. 

Each  Australian  colony  fences  itself  off  from  its 
neighbor  with  a  custom-house.  Personally,  I  have 
no  objection,  but  it  must  be  a  good  deal  of  incon- 
venience to  the  people.  We  have  something  resem- 
bling it  here  and  there  in  America,  but  it  goes  by 
another  name.  The  large  empire  of  the  Pacific  coast 
requires  a  world  of  iron  machinery,  and  could  manu- 
facture it  economically  on  the  spot  if  the  imposts 
on  foreign  iron  were  removed.  But  they  are  not. 
Protection  to  Pennsylvania  and  Alabama  forbids  it. 
The  result  to  the  Pacific  coast  is  the  same  as  if  there 
were  several  rows  of  custom-fences  between  the 
coast  and  the  East.  Iron  carted  across  the  American 
continent  at  luxurious  railway  rates  would  be  valu- 
able enough  to  be  coined  when  it  arrived. 

133 


MARK     TWAIN 

We  changed  cars.  This  was  at  Albury.  And  it 
was  there,  I  think,  that  the  growing  day  and  the 
early  sun  exposed  the  distant  range  called  the  Blue 
Mountains.  Accurately  named.  "My  word!"  as 
the  Australians  say,  but  it  was  a  stunning  color,  that 
blue.  Deep,  strong,  rich,  exquisite;  towering  and 
majestic  masses  of  blue — a  softly  liiminous  blue,  a 
smoldering  blue,  as  if  vaguely  lit  by  fires  within. 
It  extinguished  the  blue  of  the  sky — made  it  pallid 
and  unwholesome,  whitey  and  washed  out.  A  won- 
derful color — just  divine. 

A  resident  told  me  that  those  were  not  mountains ; 
he  said  they  were  rabbit-piles.  And  explained  that 
long  exposure  and  the  over-ripe  condition  of  the 
rabbits  was  what  made  them  look  so  blue.  This 
man  may  have  been  right,  but  much  reading  of 
books  of  travel  has  made  me  distrustful  of  gratis 
information  furnished  by  unofficial  residents  of  a 
country.  The  facts  which  such  people  give  to 
travelers  are  usually  erroneous,  and  often  intemper- 
ately  so.  The  rabbit-plague  has  indeed  been  very 
bad  in  Australia,  and  it  could  account  for  one  moun- 
tain, but  not  for  a  moiintain  range,  it  seems  to  me. 
It  is  too  large  an  order. 

We  breakfasted  at  the  station.  A  good  breakfast, 
except  the  coffee;  and  cheap.  The  government 
establishes  the  prices  and  placards  them.  The 
waiters  were  men,  I  think;  but  that  is  not  usual  in 
Australasia.  The  usual  thing  is  to  have  girls.  No, 
not  girls,  young  ladies — generally  duchesses.  Dress? 
They  would  attract  attention  at  any  royal  lev6e  in 
Europe.     Even  empresses  and  queens  do  not  dress 

134 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

as  they  do.  Not  that  they  could  not  afford  it,  per- 
haps, but  they  would  not  know  how. 

All  the  pleasant  morning  we  slid  smoothly  along 
over  the  plains,  through  thin — not  thick — forests 
of  great  melancholy  gum  trees,  with  trunks  rugged 
with  curled  sheets  of  flaking  bark — erysipelas  con- 
valescents, so  to  speak,  shedding  their  dead  skins. 
And  all  along  were  tiny  cabins,  built  sometimes  of 
wood,  sometimes  of  gray-blue  corrugated  iron;  and 
the  doorsteps  and  fences  were  clogged  with  children 
— ^rugged  little  simply  clad  chaps  that  looked  as  if 
they  had  been  imported  from  the  banks  of  the 
Mississippi  without  breaking  bulk. 

And  there  were  little  villages,  with  neat  stations 
well  placarded  with  showy  advertisements — mainly 
of  almost  too  self-righteous  brands  of  "sheep-dip," 
if  that  is  the  name — and  I  think  it  is.  It  is  a  stuff 
like  tar,  and  is  dabbed  onto  places  where  the  shearer 
clips  a  piece  out  of  the  sheep.  It  bars  out  the  flies, 
and  has  healing  properties,  and  a  nip  to  it  which 
makes  the  sheep  skip  like  the  cattle  on  a  thousand 
hiUs.  It  is  not  good  to  eat.  That  is,  it  is  not 
good  to  eat  except  when  mixed  with  railroad  coffee. 
It  improves  railroad  coffee.  Without  it  railroad 
coffee  is  too  vague.  But  with  it,  it  is  quite  assertive 
and  enthusiastic.  By  itself,  railroad  coffee  is  too 
passive;  but  sheep-dip  makes  it  wake  up  and  get 
down  to  business.  I  wonder  where  they  get  railroad 
coffee  ? 

We  saw  birds,  but  not  a  kangaroo,  not  an  emu, 
not  an  ornithorhyncus,  not  a  lecturer,  not  a  native. 
Indeed,  the  land  seemed  quite  destitute  of  game. 

135 


MARK     TWAIN 

But  I  have  misused  the  word  native.  In  Australia 
it  is  appHed  to  Australian-bom  whites  only.  I 
should  have  said  that  we  saw  no  Aboriginals — no 
"blackfellows."  And  to  this  day  I  have  never  seen 
one.  In  the  great  museums  you  will  find  all  the 
other  curiosities,  but  in  the  curio  of  chiefest  interest 
to  the  stranger  all  of  them  are  lacking.  We  have 
at  home  an  abundance  of  museums,  and  not  an 
American  Indian  in  them.  It  is  clearly  an  absurdity, 
but  it  never  struck  me  before. 


CHAPTER  XV 

WAGGA-WAGGA  AND  THE  TICHBORNE  CLAIMANT 

Truth  is  stranger  than  fiction — to  some  people,  but  I  am  measurably  familiar 
with  it. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson  s  New  Calendar. 

Truth  is  stranger  than  fiction,  but  it  is  because  Fiction  is  obliged  to  stick  to 
possibilities;   Truth  isn't. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

THE  air  was  balmy  and  delicious,  the  sunshine 
radiant;  it  was  a  charming  excursion.  In  the 
course  of  it  we  came  to  a  town  whose  odd  name  was 
famous  all  over  the  world  a  quarter  of  a  century  ago 
— Wagga-Wagga.  This  was  because  the  Tichbome 
Claimant  had  kept  a  butcher-shop  there.  It  was 
out  of  the  midst  of  his  humble  collection  of  sausages 
and  tripe  that  he  soared  up  into  the  zenith  of  noto- 
riety and  hung  there  in  the  wastes  of  space  a  time, 
with  the  telescopes  of  all  nations  leveled  at  him  in 
unappeasable  curiosity — curiosity  as  to  which  of  the 
two  long-missing  persons  he  was :  Arthur  Orton,  the 
mislaid  roustabout  of  Wapping,  or  Sir  Roger  Tich- 
bome, the  lost  heir  of  a  name  and  estates  as  old  as 
English  history.  We  all  know  now,  but  not  a  dozen 
people  knew  then;  and  the  dozen  kept  the  mystery 
to  themselves  and  allowed  the  most  intricate  and 
fascinating  and  marvelous  real-life  romance  that  has 
ever  been  played  upon  the  world's  stage  to  unfold 
itself  serenely,  act  by  act,  in  a  British  court,  by  the 
long  and  laborious  processes  of  judicial  development. 
When  we  recall  the  details  of  that  great  romance 
137 


MARK     TWAIN 

we  marvel  to  see  what  daring  chances  truth  may 
freely  take  in  constructing  a  tale,  as  compared  with 
the  poor  little  conservative  risks  permitted  to  fiction. 
The  fiction-artist  could  achieve  no  success  with  the 
materials  of  this  splendid  Tichbome  romance.  He 
would  have  to  drop  out  the  chief  characters;  the 
public  would  say  such  people  are  impossible.  He 
would  have  to  drop  out  a  number  of  the  most  pic- 
turesque incidents ;  the  public  would  say  such  things 
could  never  happen.  And  yet  the  chief  characters 
did  exist,  and  the  incidents  did  happen. 

It  cost  the  Tichbome  estates  four  hundred 
thousand  dollars  to  unmask  the  Claimant  and  drive 
him  out;  and  even  after  the  exposure  multitudes  of 
Englishmen  still  believed  in  him.  It  cost  the 
British  Government  another  four  hundred  thousand 
dollars  to  convict  him  of  perjury;  and  after  the 
conviction  the  same  old  multitudes  still  believed  in 
him ;  and  among  these  believers  were  many  educated 
and  intelligent  men;  and  some  of  them  had  person- 
ally known  the  real  Sir  Roger.  The  Claimant  was 
sentenced  to  fourteen  years'  imprisonment.  When 
he  got  out  of  prison  he  went  to  New  York  and  kept 
a  whisky  saloon  in  the  Bowery  for  a  time,  then  dis- 
appeared from  view. 

He  always  claimed  to  be  Sir  Roger  Tichbome 
until  death  called  for  him.  This  was  but  a  few 
months  ago — not  very  much  short  of  a  generation 
since  he  left  Wagga-Wagga  to  go  and  possess  himself 
of  his  estates.  On  his  deathbed  he  yielded  up  his 
secret,  and  confessed  in  writing  that  he  was  only 
Arthur  Orton,  of  Wapping,  able  seaman  and  butcher 

138 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

— that  and  nothing  more.  But  it  is  scarcely  to  be 
doubted  that  there  are  people  whom  even  his  dying 
confession  will  not  convince.  The  old  habit  of 
assimilating  incredibilities  must  have  made  strong 
food  a  necessity  in  their  case ;  a  weaker  article  would 
probably  disagree  with  them. 

I  was  in  London  when  the  Claimant  stood  his  trial 
for  perjury.  I  attended  one  of  his  showy  evenings 
in  the  sumptuous  quarters  provided  for  him  from 
the  purses  of  his  adherents  and  well-wishers.  He 
was  in  evening  dress,  and  I  thought  him  a  rather 
fine  and  stately  creature.  There  were  about  twenty- 
five  gentlemen  present;  educated  men,  men  moving 
in  good  society,  none  of  them  commonplace;  some 
of  them  were  men  of  distinction,  none  of  them  were 
obscurities.  They  were  his  cordial  friends  and 
admirers.  It  was  "S'r  Roger,"  always  *'S'r  Roger," 
on  all  hands ;  no  one  withheld  the  title,  all  turned  it 
from  the  tongue  with  unction,  and  as  if  it  tasted  good. 

For  many  years  I  had  had  a  mystery  in  stock. 
Melbourne,  and  only  Melbourne,  could  unriddle  it 
for  me.  In  1873  I  arrived  in  London  with  my  wife 
and  young  child,  and  presently  received  a  note  from 
Naples  signed  by  a  name  not  familiar  to  me.  It 
was  not  Bascom,  and  it  was  not  Henry;  but  I  will 
call  it  Henry  Bascom  for  convenience'  sake.  This 
note,  of  about  six  lines,  was  written  on  a  strip  of 
white  paper  whose  end-edges  were  ragged.  I  came 
to  be  familiar  with  those  strips  in  later  years.  Their 
size  and  pattern  were  always  the  same.  Their  con- 
tents were  usually  to  the  same  effect:  would  I  and 
mine  come  to  the  writer's  country-place  in  England 

139 


MARK     TWAIN 

on  such  and  such  a  date,  by  such  and  such  a  train, 
and  stay  twelve  days  and  depart  by  such  and  such  a 
train  at  the  end  of  the  specified  time?  A  carriage 
woiild  meet  us  at  the  station. 

These  invitations  were  always  for  a  long  time 
ahead;  if  we  were  in  Europe,  three  months  ahead; 
if  we  were  in  America,  six  to  twelve  months  ahead. 
They  always  named  the  exact  date  and  train  for  the 
beginning  and  also  for  the  end  of  the  visit. 

This  first  note  invited  us  for  a  date  three  months 
in  the  future.  It  asked  us  to  arrive  by  the  4.10  p.m. 
train  from  London,  August  6th.  The  carriage  would 
be  waiting.  The  carriage  would  take  us  away  seven 
days  later — train  specified.  And  there  were  these 
words:   "Speak  to  Tom  Hughes." 

I  showed  the  note  to  the  author  of  Tom  Brown  at 
Rugby,  and  he  said: 

** Accept,  and  be  thankful." 

He  described  Mr.  Bascom  as  being  a  man  of 
genius,  a  man  of  fine  attainments,  a  choice  man  in 
every  way,  a  rare  and  beautiful  character.  He  said 
that  Bascom  Hall  was  a  particularly  fine  example  of 
the  stately  manorial  mansion  of  Elizabeth's  days, 
and  that  it  was  a  house  worth  going  a  long  way  to 
see — ^like  Knowle;  that  Mr.  B.  was  of  a  social  dis- 
position, liked  the  company  of  agreeable  people, 
and  always  had  samples  of  the  sort  coming  and 
going. 

We  paid  the  visit.  We  paid  others,  in  later  years 
— the  last  one  in  1879.  Soon  after  that  Mr.  Bascom 
started  on  a  voyage  around  the  world  in  a  steam- 
yacht — a  long  and  leisurely  trip,  for  he  was  making 

140 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

collections,  in  all  lands,  of  birds,  butterflies,  and 
such  things. 

The  day  that  President  Garfield  was  shot  by  the 
assassin  Guiteau,  we  were  at  a  Httle  watering-place 
on  Long  Island  Sound;  and  in  the  mail-matter  of 
that  day  came  a  letter  with  the  Melbourne  postmark 
on  it.  It  was  for  my  wife,  but  I  recognized  Mr. 
Bascom's  handwriting  on  the  envelope,  and  opened 
it.  It  was  the  usual  note — as  to  paucity  of  hnes — 
and  was  written  on  the  customary  strip  of  paper; 
but  there  was  nothing  usual  about  the  contents. 
The  note  informed  my  wife  that  if  it  would  be  any 
assuagement  of  her  grief  to  know  that  her  husband's 
lecture-tour  in  Australia  was  a  satisfactory  venture 
from  the  beginning  to  the  end,  he,  the  writer,  could 
testify  that  such  was  the  case;  also,  that  her  hus- 
band's imtimely  death  had  been  mourned  by  all 
classes,  as  she  would  already  know  by  the  press 
telegrams,  long  before  the  reception  of  this  note; 
that  the  funeral  was  attended  by  the  officials  of  the 
colonial  and  city  governments;  and  that  while  he, 
the  writer,  her  friend  and  mine,  had  not  reached 
Melbourne  in  time  to  see  the  body,  he  had  at  least 
had  the  sad  privilege  of  acting  as  one  of  the  pall- 
bearers.    Signed,  "Henry  Bascom." 

My  first  thought  was,  why  didn't  he  have  the 
coffin  opened?  He  would  have  seen  that  the  corpse 
was  an  impostor,  and  he  could  have  gone  right 
ahead  and  dried  up  the  most  of  those  tears,  and  com- 
forted those  sorrowing  governments,  and  sold  the 
remains  and  sent  me  the  money. 

I  did  nothing  about  the  matter.     I  had  set  the 

141 


MARK     TWAIN 

law  after  living  lecture-doubles  of  mine  a  couple  of 
times  in  America,  and  the  law  had  not  been  able  to 
catch  them;  others  in  my  trade  had  tried  to  catch 
their  impostor-doubles  and  had  failed.  Then  where 
was  the  use  in  harrying  a  ghost?  None — and  so  I 
did  not  disturb  it.  I  had  a  curiosity  to  know  about 
that  man's  lecture-tour  and  last  moments,  but  that 
could  wait.  When  I  should  see  Mr.  Bascom  he 
would  tell  me  all  about  it.  But  he  passed  from  life, 
and  I  never  saw  him  again.    My  curiosity  faded  away. 

However,  when  I  found  that  I  was  going  to  Aus- 
tralia it  revived.  And  naturally:  for  if  the  people 
should  say  that  I  was  a  dull,  poor  thing  compared 
to  what  I  was  before  I  died,  it  would  have  a  bad 
effect  on  business.  Well,  to  my  surprise  the  Sydney 
journalists  had  never  heard  of  that  impostor!  I 
pressed  them,  but  they  were  firm — they  had  never 
heard  of  him,  and  didn't  believe  in  him. 

I  could  not  understand  it ;  still,  I  thought  it  would 
all  come  right  in  Melbourne.  The  government 
would  remember;  and  the  other  mourners.  At  the 
supper  of  the  Institute  of  Journalists  I  should  find 
out  aU  about  the  matter.  But  no — it  turned  out 
that  they  had  never  heard  of  it. 

So  my  mystery  was  a  mystery  still.  It  was  a 
great  disappointment.  I  believed  it  would  never  be 
cleared  up — in  this  life — so  I  dropped  it  out  of  my 
mind. 

But  at  last !   just  when  I  was  least  expecting  it — 

However,  this  is  not  the  place  for  the  rest  of  it ;  I 
shall  come  to  the  matter  again,  in  a  far-distant 
chapter. 

142 


CHAPTER  XVI 

MELBOURNE  CUP  DAY,  GREATEST  OF  THE  YEAR 

fJiT^  '^^  ^^°'^^  ??"'^'  ^"^  ^^^'^  '^  ^"  Immoral  Sense.  History  shows  us  that 
the  Moral  Sense  enables  us  to  perceive  morality  and  how  to  avoid  it.  and  that  the 
Immoral  Sense  enables  us  to  perceive  immorality  and  how  to  enjoy  it. 

—Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

MELBOURNE  spreads  around  over  an  immense 
.  area  of  ground.  It  is  a  stately  city  architec- 
turally as  well  as  in  magnitude.  It  has  an  elaborate 
system  of  cable-car  service;  it  has  museums,  and 
colleges,  and  schools,  and  public  gardens,  and  elec- 
tricity, and  gas,  and  libraries,  and  theaters,  and 
mining  centers,  and  wool  centers,  and  centers  of  the 
arts  and  sciences,  and  boards  of  trade,  and  ships, 
and  railroads,  and  a  harbor,  and  social  clubs,  and 
journaHstic  clubs,  and  racing  clubs,  and  a  squatter 
club  sumptuously  housed  and  appointed,  and  as 
many  churches  and  banks  as  can  make  a  living.  In 
a  word,  it  is  equipped  with  everything  that  goes  to 
make  the  modem  great  city.  It  is  the  largest  city 
of  Australasia,  and  fills  the  post  with  honor  and 
credit.  It  has  one  specialty;  this  must  not  be 
jimibled  in  with  those  other  things.  It  is  the  mitered 
Metropolitan  of  the  Horse-Racing  Cult.  Its  race- 
ground  is  the  Mecca  of  Australasia.  On  the  great 
annual  day  of  sacrifice— the  5  th  of  November,  Guy 
Fawkes's  Day— business  is  suspended  over  a  stretch 
of  land  and  sea  as  wide  as  from  New  York  to  San 

143 


MARK     TWAIN 

Francisco,  and  deeper  than  from  the  northern  lakes 
to  the  Gulf  of  Mexico;  and  every  man  and  woman, 
of  high  degree  or  low,  who  can  afford  the  expense, 
put  away  their  other  duties  and  come.  They  begin 
to  swarm  in  by  ship  and  rail  a  fortnight  before  the 
day,  and  they  swarm  thicker  and  thicker  day  after 
day,  until  all  the  vehicles  of  transportation  are  taxed 
to  their  uttermost  to  meet  the  demands  of  the  occa- 
sion, and  all  hotels  and  lodgings  are  bulging  outward 
because  of  the  pressure  from  within.  They  come  a 
hundred  thousand  strong,  as  all  the  best  authorities 
say,  and  they  pack  the  spacious  grounds  and  grand- 
stands and  make  a  spectacle  such  as  is  never  to  be 
seen  in  Australasia  elsewhere. 

It  is  the  "Melbourne  Cup"  that  brings  this  multi- 
tude together.  Their  clothes  have  been  ordered 
long  ago,  at  unlimited  cost,  and  without  bounds  as 
to  beauty  and  magnificence,  and  have  been  kept  in 
concealment  imtil  now,  for  unto  this  day  are  they 
consecrate.  I  am  speaking  of  the  ladies'  clothes; 
but  one  might  know  that. 

And  so  the  grand-stands  make  a  brilliant  and 
wonderful  spectacle,  a  deliritun  of  color,  a  vision  of 
beauty.  The  champagne  flows,  everybody  is  viva- 
cious, excited,  happy;  everybody  bets,  and  gloves 
and  fortunes  change  hands  right  along,  all  the  time. 
Day  after  day  the  races  go  on,  and  the  fun  and  the 
excitement  are  kept  at  white  heat;  and  when  each 
day  is  done,  the  people  dance  all  night  so  as  to  be 
fresh  for  the  race  in  the  morning.  And  at  the  end 
of  the  great  week  the  swarms  secure  lodgings  and 
transportation  for  next  year,   then  flock  away  to 

144 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

their  remote  homes  and  count  their  gains  and  losses, 
and  order  next  year's  Cup  clothes,  and  then  lie 
down  and  sleep  two  weeks,  and  get  up  sorry  to 
reflect  that  a  whole  year  must  be  put  in  somehow 
or  other  before  they  can  be  wholly  happy  again. 

The  Melbourne  Cup  is  the  Australasian  National 
Day.  It  would  be  diflicult  to  overstate  its  impor- 
tance. It  overshadows  all  other  holidays  and  spe- 
cialized days  of  whatever  sort  in  that  congeries  of 
colonies.  Overshadows  them?  I  might  almost  say 
it  blots  them  out.  Each  of  them  gets  attention,  but 
not  everybody's;  each  of  them  evokes  interest, 
but  not  everybody's;  each  of  them  rouses  enthusi- 
asm, but  not  everybody's;  in  each  case  a  part  of  the 
attention,  interest,  and  enthusiasm  is  a  matter  of 
habit  and  custom,  and  another  part  of  it  is  official 
and  perfunctory.  Cup  Day,  and  Cup  Day  only, 
commands  an  attention,  an  interest,  and  an  enthu- 
siasm which  are  universal — and  spontaneous,  not 
perfunctory.  Cup  Day  is  supreme — it  has  no  rival. 
I  can  call  to  mind  no  specialized  annual  day,  in  any 
country,  which  can  be  named  by  that  large  name — 
Supreme.  I  can  call  to  mind  no  specialized  annual 
day,  in  any  country,  whose  approach  fires  the  whole 
land  with  a  conflagration  of  conversation  and  prepa- 
ration and  anticipation  and  jubilation.  No  day  save 
this  one;   but  this  one  does  it. 

In  America  we  have  no  annual  supreme  day;  no 
day  whose  approach  makes  the  whole  nation  glad. 
We  have  the  Fourth  of  July,  and  Christmas,  and 
Thanksgiving.  Neither  of  them  can  claim  the 
primacy;   neither  of  them  can  arouse  an  enthusiasm 

145 


MARK     TWAIN 

which  comes  near  to  being  universal.  Eight  grown 
Americans  out  of  ten  dread  the  coming  of  the  Fourth, 
with  its  pandemonium  and  its  perils,  and  they 
rejoice  when  it  is  gone — if  still  alive.  The  approach 
of  Christmas  brings  harassment  and  dread  to  many 
excellent  people.  They  have  to  buy  a  cart-load  of 
presents,  and  they  never  know  what  to  buy  to  hit 
the  various  tastes;  they  put  in  three  weeks  of  hard 
and  anxious  work,  and  when  Christmas  morning 
comes  they  are  so  dissatisfied  with  the  result,  and 
so  disappointed  that  they  want  to  sit  down  and  cry. 
Then  they  give  thanks  that  Christmas  comes  but  once 
a  year.  The  observance  of  Thanksgiving  Day — as 
a  fimction — has  become  general  of  late  years.  The 
Thankfulness  is  not  so  general.  This  is  natural. 
Two-thirds  of  the  nation  have  always  had  hard  luck 
and  a  hard  time  during  the  year,  and  this  has  a 
calming  effect  upon  their  enthusiasm. 

We  have  a  supreme  day — a  sweeping  and  tre- 
mendous and  tumultuous  day,  a  day  which  com- 
mands an  absolute  imiversality  of  interest  and  excite- 
ment; but  it  is  not  annual.  It  comes  but  once  in 
four  years;  therefore  it  cannot  coimt  as  a  rival  of 
the  Melbourne  Cup. 

In  Great  Britain  and  Ireland  they  have  two  great 
days — Christmas  and  the  Queen's  birthday.  But 
they  are  equally  popular;    there  is  no  supremacy. 

I  think  it  must  be  conceded  that  the  position  of 
the  Australasian  Day  is  imique,  solitary,  unfellowed; 
and  likely  to  hold  that  high  place  a  long  time. 

The  things  which  interest  us  when  we  travel  are, 
first,  the  people;    next,  the  novelties;    and  finally 

146 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

the  history  of  the  places  and  countries  visited. 
Novelties  are  rare  in  cities  which  represent  the  most 
advanced  civilization  of  the  modem  day.  When 
one  is  familiar  with  such  cities  in  the  other  parts  of 
the  world  he  is  in  effect  familiar  with  the  cities  of 
Australasia.  The  outside  aspects  will  furnish  little 
that  is  new.  There  will  be  new  names,  but  the  things 
which  they  represent  will  sometimes  be  found  to 
be  less  new  than  their  names.  There  may  be  shades 
of  difference,  but  these  can  easily  be  too  fine  for 
detection  by  the  incompetent  eye  of  the  passing 
stranger.  In  the  larrikin  he  will  not  be  able  to 
discover  a  new  species,  but  only  an  old  one  met 
elsewhere,  and  variously  called  loafer,  rough,  tough, 
bummer,  or  blatherskite,  according  to  his  geograph- 
ical distribution.  The  larrikin  differs  by  a  shade 
from  those  others,  in  that  he  is  more  sociable  toward 
the  stranger  than  they,  more  kindly  disposed,  more 
hospitable,  more  hearty,  more  friendly.  At  least  it 
seemed  so  to  me,  and  I  had  opportunity  to  observe. 
In  Sydney,  at  least.  In  Melbourne  I  had  to  drive 
to  and  from  the  lecture-theater,  but  in  Sydney  I  was 
able  to  walk  both  ways,  and  did  it.  Every  night, 
on  my  way  home  at  ten,  or  a  quarter  past,  I  found 
the  larrikin  grouped  in  considerable  force  at  several 
of  the  street-comers,  and  he  always  gave  me  this 
pleasant  salutation: 

"Hello,  Mark!" 

"Here's  to  you,  old  chap!" 

"Say — Mark! — is  he  dead?" — a  reference  to  a 
passage  in  some  book  of  mine,  though  I  did  not 
detect,  at  that  time,  that  that  was  its  source.     And 

147 


MARK     TWAIN 

I  didn't  detect  it  afterward  in  Melbourne,  when  I 
came  on  the  stage  for  the  first  time,  and  the  same 
question  was  dropped  down  upon  me  from  the  dizzy- 
height  of  the  gallery.  It  is  always  difficult  to  answer 
a  sudden  inquiry  like  that,  when  you  have  come 
imprepared  and  don't  know  what  it  means.  I  will 
remark  here — if  it  is  not  an  indecorum — that  the 
welcome  which  an  American  lecturer  gets  from  a 
British  colonial  audience  is  a  thing  which  will  move 
him  to  his  deepest  deeps,  and  veil  his  sight  and 
break  his  voice.  And  from  Winnipeg  to  Africa, 
experience  will  teach  him  nothing;  he  will  never 
learn  to  expect  it,  it  will  catch  him  as  a  surprise 
each  time.  The  war-cloud  hanging  black  over  Eng- 
land and  America  made  no  trouble  for  me.  I  was 
a  prospective  prisoner  of  war,  but  at  dinners,  sup- 
pers, on  the  platform,  and  elsewhere,  there  was 
never  anything  to  remind  me  of  it.  This  was  hos- 
pitality of  the  right  metal,  and  would  have  been 
prominently  lacking  in  some  countries,  in  the  cir- 
cumstances. 

And  speaking  of  the  war-flurry,  it  seemed  to  me 
to  bring  to  light  the  unexpected,  in  a  detail  or  two. 
It  seemed  to  relegate  the  war-talk  to  the  politicians 
on  both  sides  of  the  water;  whereas  whenever  a 
prospective  war  between  two  nations  had  been  in 
the  air  theretofore,  the  public  had  done  most  of  the 
talking  and  the  bitterest.  The  attitude  of  the  news- 
papers was  new  also.  I  speak  of  those  of  Australasia 
and  India,  for  I  had  access  to  those  only.  They 
treated  the  subject  argument atively  and  with  dig- 
nity, not  with  spite  and  anger.     That  was  a  new 

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FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

spirit,  too,  and  not  learned  of  the  French  and  Ger- 
man press,  either  before  Sedan  or  since.  I  heard 
many  public  speeches,  and  they  reflected  the  modera- 
tion of  the  journals.  The  outlook  is  that  the  English- 
speaking  race  will  dominate  the  earth  a  hundred 
years  from  now,  if  its  sections  do  not  get  to  fighting 
each  other.  It  would  be  a  pity  to  spoil  that  prospect 
by  baffling  and  retarding  wars  when  arbitration 
would  settle  their  differences  so  much  better  and  also 
so  much  more  definitely. 

No,  as  I  have  suggested,  novelties  are  rare  in  the 
great  capitals  of  modem  times.  Even  the  wool 
exchange  in  Melbourne  could  not  be  told  from  the 
familiar  stock  exchange  of  other  countries.  Wool- 
brokers  are  just  like  stock-brokers;  they  all  bounce 
from  their  seats  and  put  up  their  hands  and  yell  in 
imison — ^no  stranger  can  tell  what — and  the  president 
calmly  says — "Sold  to  Smith  &  Co.,  threppence 
farthing — next!" — when  probably  nothing  of  the 
kind  happened;   for  how  should  he  know? 

In  the  museums  you  will  find  acres  of  the  most 
strange  and  fascinating  things ;  but  all  museums  are 
fascinating,  and  they  do  so  tire  your  eyes,  and  break 
your  back,  and  bum  out  your  vitalities  with  their 
consuming  interest.  You  always  say  you  will  never 
go  again,  but  you  do  go.  The  palaces  of  the  rich, 
in  Melbourne,  are  much  like  the  palaces  of  the  rich 
in  America,  and  the  life  in  them  is  the  same;  but 
there  the  resemblance  ends.  The  grounds  surround- 
ing the  American  palace  are  not  often  large,  and  not 
often  beautiful,  but  in  the  Melbourne  case  the 
grounds  are  often  ducally  spacious,  and  the  climate 

149 


MARK     TWAIN 

and  the  gardeners  together  make  them  as  beautiful 
as  a  dream.  It  is  said  that  some  of  the  country- 
seats  have  grounds — domains — about  them  which 
rival  in  charm  and  magnitude  those  which  surround 
the  country  mansion  of  an  English  lord;  but  I  was 
not  out  in  the  country ;  I  had  my  hands  full  in  town. 
And  what  was  the  origin  of  this  majestic  city  and 
its  efflorescence  of  palatial  town  houses  and  country- 
seats?  Its  first  brick  was  laid  and  its  first  house 
built  by  a  passing  convict.  Australian  history  is 
almost  always  picturesque;  indeed,  it  is  so  curious 
and  strange,  that  it  is  itself  the  chief  est  novelty  the 
country  has  to  offer,  and  so  it  pushes  the  other 
novelties  into  second  and  third  place.  It  does  not 
read  like  history,  but  like  the  most  beautiful  lies. 
And  all  of  a  fresh  new  sort,  no  moldy  old  stale  ones. 
It  is  full  of  surprises,  and  adventures,  and  incongrui- 
ties, and  contradictions,  and  incredibilities ;  but  they 
are  all  true,  they  all  happened. 


CHAPTER  XVII 

Australia's  enormous  trade 

The  English  are  mentioned  in  the  Bible:    Blessed  are  the  meek,  for  they  shall 
inherit  the  earth. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

WHEN  we  consider  the  immensity  of  the  British 
Empire  in  territory,  population,  and  trade,  it 
requires  a  stem  exercise  of  faith  to  believe  in  the 
figures  which  represent  Australasia's  contribution  to 
the  Empire's  commercial  grandeur.  As  compared 
with  the  landed  estate  of  the  British  Empire,  the 
landed  estate  dominated  by  any  other  Power  except 
one — Russia — is  not  very  impressive  for  size.  My 
authorities  make  the  British  Empire  not  much  short 
of  a  fourth  larger  than  the  Russian  Empire.  Roughly 
proportioned,  if  you  will  allow  your  entire  hand 
to  represent  the  British  Empire,  you  may  then  cut 
off  the  fingers  a  trifle  above  the  middle  joint  of 
the  middle  finger,  and  what  is  left  of  the  hand  will 
represent  Russia.  The  populations  ruled  by  Great 
Britain  and  China  are  about  the  same — 400,000,000 
each.  No  other  Power  approaches  these  figures. 
Even  Russia  is  left  far  behind. 

The  population  of  Australasia — 4,000,000 — sinks 
into  nothingness,  and  is  lost  from  sight  in  that 
British  ocean  of  400,000,000.  Yet  the  statistics 
indicate  that  it  rises  again  and  shows  up  very  con- 
spicuously when  its  share  of  the  Empire's  commerce 
is  the  matter  under  consideration.     The  value  of 

151 


MARK     TWAIN 

England's  annual  exports  and  imports  is  stated  at 
three  billions  of  dollars/  and  it  is  claimed  that  more 
than  one-tenth  of  this  great  aggregate  is  represented 
by  Australasia's  exports  to  England  and  imports  from 
England.2  j^  addition  to  this,  Australasia  does  a 
trade  with  countries  other  than  England,  amounting 
to  $100,000,000  a  year,  and  a  domestic  intercolonial 
trade  amounting  to  $150,000,000.^ 

In  round  numbers  the  4,000,000  buy  and  sell 
about  $600,000,000  worth  of  goods  a  year.  It  is 
claimed  that  about  half  of  this  represents  commodi- 
ties of  Australasian  production.  The  products  ex- 
ported annually  by  India  are  worth  a  trifle  over 
$500,000,000.1  Now,  here  are  some  faith-straining 
figures : 

Indian  production  (300,000,000  population), 
$500,000,000. 

Australasian  production  (4,000,000  population), 
$300,000,000. 

That  is  to  say,  the  product  of  the  individual 
Indian,  annually  (for  export  some  whither),  is  worth 
$1.75;  that  of  the  individual  Australasian  (for  ex- 
port some  whither),  $75!  Or,  to  put  it  in  another 
way,  the  Indian  family  of  man  and  wife  and  three 
children  sends  away  an  annual  result  worth  $8.75, 
while  the  Australasian  family  sends  away  $375  worth. 

There  are  trustworthy  statistics  furnished  by  Sir 
Richard  Temple  and  others,  which  show  that  the 
individual  Indian's  whole  annual  product,  both  for 
export  and  home  use,  is  worth  in  gold  only  $7.50; 
or,  $37.50  for  the  family-aggregate.     Ciphered  out 

» New  South  Wales  Blue  Book.  *  D.  M.  Luckie. 

152 


FOLLOWING    THE     EQUATOR 


153 


MARK     TWAIN 

on  a  like  ratio  of  multiplication,  the  Australasian 
family's  aggregate  production  would  be  nearly  $i,6oo. 
Truly,  nothing  is  so  astonishing  as  figures,  if  they 
once  get  started. 

We  left  Melbourne  by  rail  for  Adelaide,  the  capital 
of  the  vast  province  of  South  AustraHa — a  seventeen- 
hour  excursion.  On  the  train  we  found  several  Syd- 
ney friends;  among  them  a  Judge  who  was  going 
out  on  circuit,  and  was  going  to  hold  court  at 
Broken  Hill,  where  the  celebrated  silver-mine  is. 
It  seemed  a  curious  road  to  take  to  get  to  that  region. 
Broken  Hill  is  close  to  the  western  border  of  New 
South  Wales,  and  Sydney  is  on  the  eastern  border. 
A  fairly  straight  line,  seven  hundred  miles  long, 
drawn  westward  from  Sydney,  would  strike  Broken 
Hill,  just  as  a  somewhat  shorter  one  drawn  west 
from  Boston  would  strike  Buffalo.  The  way  the 
Judge  was  traveling  would  carry  him  over  two  thou- 
sand miles  by  rail,  he  said;  southwest  from  Sydney 
down  to  Melbourne,  then  northward  up  to  Adelaide, 
then  a  cant  back  northeastward  and  over  the  border 
into  New  South  Wales  once  more — to  Broken  Hill. 
It  was  like  going  from  Boston  southwest  to  Rich- 
mond, Virginia,  then  northwest  up  to  Erie,  Pennsyl- 
vania, then  a  cant  back  northeast  and  over  the 
border — to  Buffalo,  New  York. 

But  the  explanation  was  simple.  Years  ago  the 
fabulously  rich  silver  discovery  at  Broken  Hill  burst 
suddenly  upon  an  unexpectant  world.  Its  stocks 
started  at  shillings,  and  went  by  leaps  and  boimds 
to  the  most  fanciful  figures.  It  was  one  of  those 
cases  where  the  cook  puts  a  month's  wages  into 

154 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

shares,  and  comes  next  month  and  buys  your  house 
at  your  own  price,  and  moves  into  it  herself;  where 
the  coachman  takes  a  few  shares,  and  next  month 
sets  up  a  bank ;  and  where  the  common  sailor  invests 
the  price  of  a  spree,  and  the  next  month  buys  out 
the  steamship  company  and  goes  into  business  on 
his  own  hook.  In  a  word,  it  was  one  of  those  excite- 
ments which  bring  multitudes  of  people  to  a  common 
center  with  a  rush,  and  whose  needs  must  be  sup- 
plied, and  at  once.  Adelaide  was  close  by,  Sydney 
was  far  away.  Adelaide  threw  a  short  railway 
across  the  border  before  Sydney  had  time  to  arrange 
for  a  long  one;  it  was  not  worth  while  for  Sydney 
to  arrange  at  all.  The  whole  vast  trade-profit  of 
Broken  Hill  fell  into  Adelaide's  hands,  irrevocably. 
New  South  Wales  furnishes  law  for  Broken  Hill  and 
sends  her  Judges  two  thousand  miles  —  mainly 
through  alien  countries — to  administer  it,  but  Ade- 
laide takes  the  dividends  and  makes  no  moan. 

We  started  at  four- twenty  in  the  afternoon,  and 
moved  across  level  plains  until  night.  In  the  morning 
we  had  a  stretch  of  ** scrub"  country — the  kind  of 
thing  which  is  so  useful  to  the  Australian  novelist. 
In  the  scrub  the  hostile  aboriginal  lurks,  and  flits 
mysteriously  about,  slipping  out  from  time  to  time 
to  surprise  and  slaughter  the  settler;  then  slipping 
back  again,  and  leaving  no  track  that  the  white  man 
can  follow.  In  the  scrub  the  novelist's  heroine  gets 
lost,  search  fails  of  result;  she  wanders  here  and 
there,  and  finally  sinks  down  exhausted  and  uncon- 
scious, and  the  searchers  pass  within  a  yard  or  two 
of  her,  not  suspecting  that  she  is  near,  and  by  and 


MARK     TWAIN 

by  some  rambler  finds  her  bones  and  the  pathetic 
diary  which  she  had  scribbled  with  her  failing  hand 
and  left  behind.  Nobody  can  find  a  lost  heroine  in 
the  scrub  but  the  aboriginal  "tracker,"  and  he  will 
not  lend  himself  to  the  scheme  if  it  will  interfere 
with  the  novelist's  plot.  The  scrub  stretches  miles 
and  miles  in  all  directions,  and  looks  like  a  level 
roof  of  bush-tops  without  a  break  or  a  crack  in  it — 
as  seamless  as  a  blanket,  to  all  appearance.  One 
might  as  well  walk  under  water  and  hope  to  guess 
out  a  route  and  stick  to  it,  I  should  think.  Yet  it  is 
claimed  that  the  aboriginal  "tracker"  was  able  to 
hunt  out  people  lost  in  the  scrub.  Also  in  the 
"bush";  also  in  the  desert;  and  even  follow  them 
over  patches  of  bare  rocks  and  over  alluvial  ground 
which  had  to  all  appearance  been  washed  clear  of 
footprints. 

From  reading  Australian  books  and  talking  with 
the  people,  I  became  convinced  that  the  aboriginal 
tracker's  performances  evince  a  craft,  a  penetration, 
a  luminous  sagacity,  and  a  minuteness  and  accuracy 
of  observation  in  the  matter  of  detective  work  not 
found  in  nearly  so  remarkable  a  degree  in  any  other 
people,  white  or  colored.  In  an  official  accoimt  of 
the  blacks  of  Australia  published  by  the  government 
of  Victoria,  one  reads  that  the  aboriginal  not  only 
notices  the  faint  marks  left  on  the  bark  of  a  tree  by 
the  claws  of  a  climbing  opossum,  but  knows  in  some 
way  or  other  whether  the  marks  were  made  to-day 
or  yesterday. 

And  there  is  the  case,  on  record,  where  A,  a 
settler,  makes  a  bet  with  B,  that  B  may  lose  a  cow 

156 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

as  effectually  as  he  can,  and  A  will  produce  an 
aboriginal  who  will  find  her.  B  selects  a  cow  and 
lets  the  tracker  see  the  cow's  footprint,  then  be  put 
under  guard.  B  then  drives  the  cow  a  few  miles 
over  the  course  which  drifts  in  all  directions,  and 
frequently  doubles  back  upon  itself;  and  he  selects 
difficult  ground  all  the  time,  and  once  or  twice  even 
drives  the  cow  through  herds  of  other  cows,  and 
mingles  her  tracks  in  the  wide  confusion  of  theirs. 
He  finally  brings  his  cow  home;  the  aboriginal  is 
set  at  liberty,  and  at  once  moves  around  in  a  great 
circle,  examining  all  cow-tracks  until  he  finds  the 
one  he  is  after;  then  sets  off  and  follows  it  through- 
out its  erratic  course,  and  ultimately  tracks  it  to  the 
stable  where  B  has  hidden  the  cow.  Now  wherein 
does  one  cow- track  differ  from  another  ?  There  must 
be  a  difference,  or  the  tracker  could  not  have  per- 
formed the  feat;  a  difference  minute,  shadowy,  and 
not  detectible  by  you  or  me,  or  by  the  late  Sherlock 
Holmes,  and  yet  discernible  by  a  member  of  a  race 
charged  by  some  people  with  occupying  the  bottom 
place  in  the  gradations  of  human  intelligence. 


CHAPTER  XVIIl 

WHERE  ALL  RELIGIONS  FLOURISH 

It  Is  easier  to  stay  out  than  get  out. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

THE  train  was  now  exploring  a  beautiful  hill 
country,  and  went  twisting  in  and  out  through 
lovely  little  green  valleys.  There  were  several  varie- 
ties of  gum  trees;  among  them  many  giants.  Some 
of  them  were  bodied  and  barked  like  the  sycamore; 
some  were  of  fantastic  aspect,  and  reminded  one  of 
the  quaint  apple  trees  in  Japanese  pictures.  And 
there  was  one  peculiarly  beautiful  tree  whose  name 
and  breed  I  did  not  know.  The  foliage  seemed  to 
consist  of  big  bunches  of  pine  spines,  the  lower 
half  of  each  bunch  a  rich  brown  or  old-gold  color, 
the  upper  half  a  most  vivid  and  strenuous  and  shout- 
ing green.  The  effect  was  altogether  bewitching. 
The  tree  was  apparently  rare.  I  should  say  that 
the  first  and  last  samples  of  it  seen  by  us  were  not 
more  than  half  an  hour  apart.  There  was  another 
tree  of  striking  aspect,  a  kind  of  pine,  we  were  told. 
Its  foliage  was  as  fine  as  hair,  apparently,  and  its 
mass  sphered  itself  above  the  naked  straight  stem 
like  an  explosion  of  misty  smoke.  It  was  not  a 
sociable  sort ;  it  did  not  gather  in  groups  or  couples, 
but  each  individual  stood  far  away  from  its  nearest 
neighbor.  It  scattered  itself  in  this  spacious  and 
exclusive  fashion  about  the  slopes  of  swelling  grassy 

158 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

great  knolls,  and  stood  in  the  full  flood  of  the  won- 
derful sunshine ;  and  as  far  as  you  could  see  the  tree 
itself  you  could  also  see  the  ink-black  blot  of  its 
shadow  on  the  shining  green  carpet  at  its  feet. 

On  some  part  of  this  railway  journey  we  saw  gorse 
and  broom — importations  from  England — and  a 
gentleman  who  came  into  our  compartment  on  a 
visit  tried  to  tell  me  which  was  which;  but  as  he 
didn't  know,  he  had  difficulty.  He  said  he  was 
ashamed  of  his  ignorance,  but  that  he  had  never  been 
confronted  with  the  question  before  during  the  fifty 
years  and  more  that  he  had  spent  in  Australia,  and 
so  he  had  never  happened  to  get  interested  in  the 
matter.  But  there  was  no  need  to  be  ashamed. 
The  most  of  us  have  his  defect.  We  take  a  natural 
interest  in  novelties,  but  it  is  against  nature  to  take 
an  interest  in  famiHar  things.  The  gorse  and  the 
broom  were  a  fine  accent  in  the  landscape.  Here 
and  there  they  burst  out  in  sudden  conflagrations  of 
vivid  yellow  against  a  background  of  sober  or  somber 
color,  with  a  so  startling  effect  as  to  make  a  body 
catch  his  breath  with  the  happy  surprise  of  it.  And 
then  there  was  the  wattle,  a  native  bush  or  tree,  an 
inspiring  cloud  of  sumptuous  yellow  bloom.  It  is  a 
favorite  with  the  Australians,  and  has  a  flne  fra- 
grance, a  quality  usually  wanting  in  Australian 
blossoms. 

The  gentleman  who  enriched  me  with  the  poverty 
of  his  information  about  the  gorse  and  the  broom 
told  me  that  he  came  out  from  England  a  youth  of 
twenty  and  entered  the  province  of  South  Australia 
with  thirty-six  shillings  in  his  pocket — an  adven- 

159 


MARK     TWAIN 

turer  without  trade,  profession,  or  friends,  but  with 
a  cleariy  defined  purpose  in  his  head :  he  would  stay 
until  he  was  worth  £200,  then  go  back  home.  He 
would  allow  himself  five  years  for  the  accumulation 
of  this  fortune. 

"That  was  more  than  fifty  years  ago,"  said  he. 
"And  here  I  am,  yet." 

As  he  went  out  at  the  door  he  met  a  friend,  and 
turned  and  introduced  him  to  me,  and  the  friend 
and  I  had  a  talk  and  a  smoke.  I  spoke  of  the  pre- 
vious conversation  and  said  there  was  something 
very  pathetic  about  this  half -century  of  exile,  and 
that  I  wished  the  £200  scheme  had  succeeded. 

"With  him?  Oh,  it  did.  It's  not  so  sad  a  case. 
He  is  modest,  and  he  left  out  some  of  the  particu- 
lars. The  lad  reached  South  Australia  just  in  time 
to  help  discover  the  Burra-Burra  copper-mines. 
They  turned  out  £700,000  in  the  first  three  years. 
Up  to  now  they  have  yielded  £20,000,000.  He  has 
had  his  share.  Before  that  boy  had  been  in  the 
cotmtry  two  years  he  could  have  gone  home  and 
bought  a  village;  he  could  go  now  and  buy  a  city, 
I  think.  No,  there  is  nothing  very  pathetic  about 
his  case.  He  and  his  copper  arrived  at  just  a  handy 
time  to  save  South  Australia.  It  had  got  mashed 
pretty  flat  imder  the  collapse  of  a  land  boom  a  while 
before." 

There  it  is  again ;  picturesque  history — ^Australia's 
specialty.  In  1829  South  Australia  hadn't  a  white 
man  in  it.  In  1836  the  British  Parliament  erected 
it — still  a  solitude — ^into  a  province,  and  gave  it 
a    governor    and    other    governmental    machinery. 

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FOLLOWING    THE     EQUATOR 

Speculators  took  hold,  now,  and  inaugurated  a  vast 
land  scheme,  and  invited  immigration,  encouraging 
it  with  liuid  promises  of  sudden  wealth.  It  was 
well  worked  in  London;  and  bishops,  statesmen, 
and  all  sorts  of  people  made  a  rush  for  the  land 
company's  shares.  Immigrants  soon  began  to  pour 
into  the  region  of  Adelaide  and  select  town  lots 
and  farms  in  the  sand  and  the  mangrove  swamps 
by  the  sea.  The  crowds  continued  to  come,  prices 
of  land  rose  high,  then  higher  and  still  higher, 
everybody  was  prosperous  and  happy,  the  boom 
swelled  into  gigantic  proportions.  A  village  of  sheet- 
iron  huts  and  clapboard  sheds  sprang  up  in  the  sand, 
and  in  these  wigwams  fashion  made  display;  richly 
dressed  ladies  played  on  costly  pianos,  London 
swells  in  evening  dress  and  patent-leather  boots  were 
abundant,  and  this  fine  society  drank  champagne, 
and  in  other  ways  conducted  itself  in  this  capital 
of  humble  sheds  as  it  had  been  accustomed  to  do  in 
the  aristocratic  quarters  of  the  metropolis  of  the 
world.  The  provincial  government  put  up  expen- 
sive buildings  for  its  own  use,  and  a  palace  with 
gardens  for  the  use  of  its  governor.  The  governor 
had  a  guard,  and  maintained  a  court.  Roads, 
wharves,  and  hospitals  were  built.  All  this  on  credit, 
on  paper,  on  wind,  on  inflated  and  fictitious  values — 
on  the  boom's  moonshine,  in  fact. 

This  went  on  handsomely  during  four  or  five 
years.  Then  all  of  a  sudden  came  a  smash.  Bills 
for  a  huge  amount  drawn  by  the  governor  upon  the 
Treasury  were  dishonored,  the  land  company's  credit 
went  up  in  smoke,  a  panic  followed,  values  fell  with 

i6i 


MARK     TWAIN 

a  rush,  the  frightened  immigrants  seized  their  grip- 
sacks and  fled  to  other  lands,  leaving  behind  them  a 
good  imitation  of  a  solitude,  where  lately  had  been 
a  buzzing  and  populous  hive  of  men. 

Adelaide  was  indeed  almost  empty ;  its  population 
had  fallen  to  three  thousand.  During  two  years  or 
more  the  death- trance  continued.  Prospect  of  re- 
vival there  was  none;  hope  of  it  ceased.  Then,  as 
suddenly  as  the  paralysis  had  come,  came  the  resur- 
rection from  it.  Those  astonishingly  rich  copper- 
mines  were  discovered,  and  the  corpse  got  up  and 
danced. 

The  wool  production  began  to  grow;  grain-raising 
followed — followed  so  vigorously,  too,  that  four  or 
five  years  after  the  copper  discovery,  this  little 
colony,  which  had  had  to  import  its  breadstuffs 
formerly,  and  pay  hard  prices  for  them — once  fifty 
dollars  a  barrel  for  flour — had  become  an  exporter 
of  grain.  The  prosperities  continued.  After  many 
years.  Providence,  desiring  to  show  especial  regard 
for  New  South  Wales  and  exhibit  a  loving  interest 
in  its  welfare  which  should  certify  to  all  nations  the 
recognition  of  that  colony's  conspicuous  righteous- 
ness and  distinguished  well-deserving,  conferred  upon 
it  that  treasury  of  inconceivable  riches.  Broken  Hill; 
and  South  Australia  went  over  the  border  and  took 
it,  giving  thanks. 

Among  our  passengers  was  an  American  with  a 
imique  vocation.  Unique  is  a  strong  word,  but  I 
use  it  justifiably  if  I  did  not  misconceive  what  the 
American  told  me;  for  I  understood  him  to  say 
that  in  the  world  there  was  not  another  man  engaged 

162 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

in  the  business  which  he  was  following.  He  was 
buying  the  kangaroo-skin  crop;  buying  all  of  it, 
both  the  Australian  crop  and  the  Tasmanian;  and 
buying  it  for  an  American  house  in  New  York.  The 
prices  were  not  high,  as  there  was  no  competition, 
but  the  year's  aggregate  of  skins  would  cost  him 
thirty  thousand  pounds.  I  had  had  the  idea  that 
the  kangaroo  was  about  extinct  in  Tasmania  and 
well  thinned  out  on  the  continent.  In  America  the 
skins  are  tanned  and  made  into  shoes.  After  the 
tanning,  the  leather  takes  a  new  name — which  I  have 
forgotten — I  only  remember  that  the  new  name  does 
not  indicate  that  the  kangaroo  furnishes  the  leather. 
There  was  a  German  competition  for  a  while,  some 
years  ago,  but  that  has  ceased.  The  Germans  failed 
to  arrive  at  the  secret  of  tanning  the  skins  success- 
fully, and  they  withdrew  from  the  business.  Now 
then,  I  suppose  that  I  have  seen  a  man  whose  occu- 
pation is  really  entitled  to  bear  that  high  epithet — 
unique.  And  I  suppose  that  there  is  not  another 
occupation  in  the  world  that  is  restricted  to  the  hands 
of  a  sole  person.  I  can  think  of  no  instance  of  it. 
There  is  more  than  one  Pope,  there  is  more  than  one 
Emperor,  there  is  even  more  than  one  living  god, 
walking  upon  the  earth  and  worshiped  in  all  sincerity 
by  large  populations  of  men.  I  have  seen  and 
talked  with  two  of  these  Beings  myself  in  India,  and 
I  have  the  autograph  of  one  of  them.  It  can  come 
good,  by  and  by,  I  reckon,  if  I  attach  it  to  a 
"permit.'' 

Approaching  Adelaide  we  dismounted  from  the 
train,  as  the  French  say,  and  were  driven  in  an  open 

163 


MARK     TWAIN 

carriage  over  the  hills  and  along  their  slopes  to  the 
city.  It  was  an  excursion  of  an  hour  or  two,  and 
the  charm  of  it  coiild  not  be  overstated,  I  think. 
The  road  wound  around  gaps  and  gorges,  and  offered 
aU  varieties  of  scenery  and  prospect — mountains, 
crags,  country  homes,  gardens,  forests — color,  color, 
color  everywhere,  and  the  air  fine  and  fresh,  the 
skies  blue,  and  not  a  shred  of  cloud  to  mar  the  down- 
pour of  the  brilliant  sunshine.  And  finally  the 
mountain  gateway  opened,  and  the  immense  plain 
lay  spread  out  below  and  stretching  away  into  dim 
distances  on  every  hand,  soft  and  delicate  and 
dainty  and  beautiful.  On  its  near  edge  reposed  the 
city. 

We  descended  and  entered.  There  was  nothing 
to  remind  one  of  the  humble  capital  of  huts  and 
sheds  of  the  long- vanished  day  of  the  land-boom. 
No,  this  was  a  modem  city,  with  wide  streets,  com- 
pactly built;  with  fine  homes  everywhere,  embow- 
ered in  foHage  and  flowers,  and  with  imposing  masses 
of  public  buildings  nobly  grouped  and  architecturally 
beautiful. 

There  was  prosperity  in  the  air ;  for  another  boom 
was  on.  Providence,  desiring  to  show  especial  regard 
for  the  neighboring  colony  on  the  west — called 
Western  Australia — and  exhibit  a  loving  interest  in 
its  welfare  which  should  certify  to  all  nations  the 
recognition  of  that  colony's  conspicuous  righteous- 
ness and  distinguished  well-deserving,  had  recently 
conferred  upon  it  that  majestic  treasury  of  golden 
riches,  Coolgardie;  and  now  South  Australia  had 
gone  around  the  comer  and  taken  it,  giving  thanks. 

164 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

Everything  comes  to  him  who  is  patient  and  good, 
and  waits. 

But  South  Australia  deserves  much,  for  apparently 
she  is  a  hospitable  home  for  every  alien  who  chooses 
to  come;  and  for  his  religion,  too.  She  has  a 
population,  as  per  the  latest  census,  of  only  three 
hundred  and  twenty  thousand  odd,  and  yet  her 
varieties  of  religion  indicate  the  presence  within  her 
borders  of  samples  of  people  from  pretty  nearly 
every  part  of  the  globe  you  can  think  of.  Tabulated, 
these  varieties  of  religion  make  a  remarkable  show. 
One  would  have  to  go  far  to  find  its  match.  I  copy 
here  this  cosmopolitan  curiosity,  and  it  comes  from 
the  published  census: 


Church  of  England      .  89,271 

Roman    Catholic     .     .  47,179 

Wesleyan 49,i59 

Lutheran 23,328 

Presbyterian     ....  18,206 

Congregationalist      .     .  11,882 

Bible  Christian    .     .     .  15,762 

Primitive  Methodist,    .  11,654 

Baptist 17.547 

Christian  Brethren  .     .  465 
Methodist  New  Connexion      39 

Unitarian 688 

Church  of  Christ     .     .  3,367 


Society  of  Friends    .     .  100 

Salvation  Army  .     .     .  4,356 

New  Jerusalem  Church  168 

Jews 840 

Protestants  (undefined)  5,532 

Mohammedans     .     .     .  299 

Confucians,   etc.  .     .     .  3,884 

Other  religions     .     .     .  1,719 

Object 6,940 

Not  stated      ....  8,046 


Total 


320,431 


The  item  in  the  above  list  "Other  religions"  in- 
cludes the  following  as  returned: 


Agnostics 50 

Atheists 22 

Believers  in  Christ    ...  4 

Buddhists 52 

Calvinists 46 

Christadelphians .     .     .     .  134 


Christians   .... 

.     308 

Christ's  Chapel    .     . 

9 

Christian  Israelites  . 

2 

Christian  Socialists  . 

.      .  6 

Church  of  God     .     . 

6 

Cosmopolitans      .     . 

3 

'6s 


MARK     TWAIN 


Deists 14 

Evangelists 60 

Exclusive  Brethren  ...  8 

Free  Church 21 

Free  Methodists ....  5 

Free-thinkers 258 

Followers  of  Christ  ...  8 

Gospel  Meetings  ....  11 

Greek  Church 44 

Infidels 9 

Maronites 2 

Mennonists i 

Moravians 139 

Mormons 4 

Naturalists 2 

Orthodox 4 

Others  (indefinite)    ...  17 


Pagans 20 

Pantheists 3 

Plymouth  Brethren .     .     .  in 

Rationalists 4 

Reformers 7 

Secularists 12 

Seventh-day  Advcntists    .  203 

Shaker    i 

Shintoists 24 

Spiritualists 37 

Theosophists 9 

Town  (City)  Mission    .     .  16 

Welsh  Church 27 

Huguenot 2 

Hussite I 

Zoroastrians 2 

Zwinglian i 


About  sixty-four  roads  to  the  other  world.  You 
see  how  healthy  the  religious  atmosphere  is.  Any- 
thing can  live  in  it.  Agnostics,  Atheists,  Free-think- 
ers, Infidels,  Mormons,  Pagans,  Indefinites:  they 
are  all  there.  And  all  the  big  sects  of  the  world  can 
do  more  than  merely  live  in  it:  they  can  spread, 
fiotirish,  prosper.  All  except  the  Spiritualists  and 
the  Theosophists.  That  is  the  most  curious  feature 
of  this  curious  table.  What  is  the  matter  with  the 
specter?  Why  do  they  puff  him  away?  He  is  a 
welcome  toy  everywhere  else  in  the  world. 


CHAPTER  XIX 

WHAT  THE  LAUGHING  JACKASS  IS   GOOD   FOR 

Pity  is  for  the  living,  envy  is  for  the  dead. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

THE  successor  of  the  sheet-iron  hamlet  of  the 
mangrove  marshes  has  that  other  Australian 
specialty,  the  Botanical  Gardens.  We  cannot  have 
these  paradises.  The  best  we  could  do  would  be  to 
cover  a  vast  acreage  under  glass  and  apply  steam 
heat.  But  it  wotdd  be  inadequate,  the  lacks  would 
still  be  so  great:  the  confined  sense,  the  sense  of 
suffocation,  the  atmospheric  dimness,  the  sweaty 
heat — these  would  all  be  there,  in  place  of  the 
AustraHan  openness  to  the  sky,  the  sunshine,  and  the 
breeze.  Whatever  will  grow  imder  glass  with  us 
will  flourish  rampantly  out-of-doors  in  Australia.^ 
When  the  white  man  came  the  continent  was  nearly 
as  poor,  in  variety  of  vegetation,  as  the  desert  of 
Sahara;  now  it  has  everything  that  grows  on  the 
earth.  In  fact,  not  Australia  only,  but  all  Austral- 
asia has  levied  tribute  upon  the  flora  of  the  rest  of 
the  world ;  and  wherever  one  goes  the  results  appear, 
in  gardens  private  and  public,  in  the  woodsy  walls 
of  the  highways,  and  in  even  the  forests.     If  you 

*  The  greatest  heat  in  Victoria,  that  there  is  an  authoritative 
record  of,  was  at  Sandhurst,  in  January,  1862.  The  thermometer 
then  registered  117  degrees  in  the  shade.  In  January,  1880,  the 
heat  at  Adelaide,  South  AustraHa,  was  172  degrees  in  the  sun. 

167 


MARK     TWAIN 

see  a  curious  or  beautiful  tree  or  bush  or  flower, 
and  ask  about  it,  the  people,  answering,  usually 
name  a  foreign  country  as  the  place  of  its  origin — 
India,  Africa,  Japan,  China,  England,  America,  Java, 
Sumatra,  New  Guinea,  Polynesia,  and  so  on. 

In  the  Zoological  Gardens  of  Adelaide  I  saw  the 
only  laughing  jackass  that  ever  showed  any  disposi- 
tion to  be  courteous  to  me.  This  one  opened  his 
head  wide  and  laughed  like  a  demon;  or  like  a 
maniac  who  was  consimied  with  humorous  scorn 
over  a  cheap  and  degraded  pim.  It  was  a  very 
human  laugh.  If  he  had  been  out  of  sight  I  could 
have  believed  that  the  laughter  came  from  a  man. 
It  is  an  odd-looking  bird,  with  a  head  and  beak  that 
are  much  too  large  for  its  body.  In  time  man  will 
exterminate  the  rest  of  the  wild  creatures  of  Aus- 
tralia, but  this  one  will  probably  survive,  for  man  is 
his  friend  and  lets  him  alone.  Man  always  has  a 
good  reason  for  his  charities  toward  wild  things, 
human  or  animal — when  he  has  any.  In  this  case 
the  bird  is  spared  because  he  kills  snakes.  If  L.  J. 
will  take  my  advice  he  will  not  kill  all  of  them. 

In  that  garden  I  also  saw  the  wild  Australian  dog— 
the  dingo.  He  was  a  beautiful  creature — shapely, 
graceful,  a  little  wolfish  in  some  of  his  aspects, 
but  with  a  most  friendly  eye  and  sociable  disposi- 
tion. The  dingo  is  not  an  importation;  he  was 
present  in  great  force  when  the  whites  first  came 
to  the  continent.  It  may  be  that  he  is  the  oldest 
dog  in  the  imiverse;  his  origin,  his  descent,  the 
place  where  his  ancestors  first  appeared,  are  as 
unknown  and  as  untraceable  as  are  the  camel's.     He 

i68 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

is  the  most  precious  dog  in  the  world,  for  he  does 
not  bark.  But  in  an  evil  hour  he  got  to  raiding  the 
sheep-runs  to  appease  his  hunger,  and  that  sealed 
his  doom.  He  is  hunted,  now,  just  as  if  he  were  a 
wolf.  He  has  been  sentenced  to  extermination,  and 
the  sentence  will  be  carried  out.  This  is  all  right, 
and  not  objectionable.  The  world  was  made  for 
man — the  white  man. 

South  Australia  is  confusingly  named.  All  of  the 
colonies  have  a  southern  exposure  except  one — 
Queensland.  Properly  speaking,  South  Australia  is 
middle  Australia.  It  extends  straight  up  through 
the  center  of  the  continent  like  the  middle  board  in 
a  center-table.  It  is  two  thousand  miles  high,  from 
south  to  north,  and  about  a  third  as  wide.  A  wee 
little  spot  down  in  its  southeastern  comer  contains 
eight  or  nine  tenths  of  its  population ;  the  other  one 
or  two  tenths  are  elsewhere — as  elsewhere  as  they 
could  be  in  the  United  States  with  all  the  coimtry 
between  Denver  and  Chicago,  and  Canada  and  the 
Gulf  of  Mexico  to  scatter  over.  There  is  plenty  of 
room. 

A  telegraph  line  stretches  straight  up  north 
through  that  two  thousand  miles  of  wilderness  and 
desert  from  Adelaide  to  Port  Darwin  on  the  edge  of 
the  upper  ocean.  South  Australia  built  the  line; 
and  did  it  in  1871-72  when  her  population  nimibered 
only  one  hundred  and  eighty-five  thousand.  It  was 
a  great  work;  for  there  were  no  roads,  no  paths; 
thirteen  hundred  miles  of  the  route  had  been  trav- 
ersed but  once  before  by  white  men;  provisions, 
wire,  and  poles  had  to  be  carried  over  immense 

169 


MARK     TWAIN 


stretches  of  desert;  wells  had  to  be  dug  along  the 
route  to  supply  the  men  and  cattle  with  water. 

A  cable  had  been  previously  laid  from  Port  Dar- 
win to  Java  and  thence  to  India,  and  there  was 
telegraphic  communication  with  England  from  India. 
And  so,  if  Adelaide  could  make  connection  with 
Port  Darwin  it  meant  connection  with  the  whole 
world.  The  enterprise  succeeded.  One  could  watch 
the  London  markets  daily,  now;  the  profit  to  the 
wool-growers  of  Australia  was  instant  and  enormous. 

A  telegram  from  Melbourne  to  San  Francisco 
covers  approximately  twenty  thousand  miles — the 
equivalent  of  five-sixths  of  the  way  around  the  globe. 
It  has  to  halt  along  the  way  a  good  many  times  and 
be  repeated;  still,  but  little  time  is  lost.  These  halts, 
and  the  distances  between  them,  are  here  tabulated.^ 


Mdboume — Mount    Gambier 
Mount    Gambier — Adelaide  . 
Adelaide — Port  Avigiista     .     . 
Port  Augusta — Alice  Springs 
Alice  Springs — Port   Darsrin 
Port  Darwin — Banjoewangie 
Banjoewangie — Batavia 
Bata%*ia — Singapore  .     .     . 
Singapore — Penang  .     .     . 
Penang — Madras .... 


MUes 
300 
270 
200 

1,036 
898 

1. 150 
480 
553 
399 

1,280 


Miles 

Madras — Bombay 650 

Bombay — Aden 1,662 

Aden — Suez 1.346 

Suez — Alexandria 224 

Alexandria — Malta 828 

Malta — Gibraltar 1.008 

Gibraltar — Falmouth      ....  1,061 

Falmouth — London 350 

London — New  York      ....  2,500 
New  York — San  Francisco     .     .  3.500 


I  was  in  Adelaide  again,  some  months  later,  and 
saw  the  multitudes  gather  in  the  neighboring  city  of 
Glenelg  to  commemorate  the  Reading  of  the  Procla- 
mation— in  1836 — which  founded  the  Province.  If 
I  have  at  any  time  called  it  a  Colony,  I  withdraw 
the  discoiirtesy.  It  is  not  a  Colony,  it  is  a  Province; 
and  oflBcially  so.  Moreover,  it  is  the  only  one  so 
named  in  Australasia.     There  w^as  great  enthusiasm; 

*  From  Round  the  Empire  (George  R.  Parkin),  all  but  the  last  two. 

170 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

it  was  the  Province's  national  holiday,  its  Fourth  of 
July,  so  to  speak.  It  is  the  pre-eminent  holiday; 
and  that  is  saying  much,  in  a  country  where  they 
seem  to  have  a  most  un-English  mania  for  holidays. 
Mainly  they  are  working-men's  holidays;  for  in 
South  Australia  the  working-man  is  sovereign;  his 
vote  is  the  desire  of  the  politician — indeed,  it  is  the 
very  breath  of  the  politician's  being;  the  parliament 
exists  to  deliver  the  will  of  the  working-man,  and  the 
Government  exists  to  execute  it.  The  working-man 
is  a  great  power  everywhere  in  Australia,  but  South 
Australia  is  his  paradise.  He  has  had  a  hard  time 
in  this  world,  and  has  earned  a  paradise.  I  am  glad 
he  has  found  it.  The  holidays  there  are  frequent 
enough  to  be  bewildering  to  the  stranger.  I  tried 
to  get  the  hang  of  the  system,  but  was  not  able  to 
do  it. 

You  have  seen  that  the  Province  is  tolerant, 
religious-wise.  It  is  so  politically,  also.  One  of  the 
speakers  at  the  Commemoration  banquet — the  Min- 
ister of  Public  Works — was  an  American,  bom  and 
reared  in  New  England.  There  is  nothing  narrow 
about  the  Province,  politically,  or  in  any  other  way 
that  I  know  of.  Sixty-four  religions  and  a  Yankee 
cabinet  minister.  No  amount  of  horse-racing  can 
damn  this  commimity. 

The  mean  temperature  of  the  Province  is  sixty-two 
degrees.  The  death-rate  is  thirteen  in  the  one  thou- 
sand— about  half  what  it  is  in  the  city  of  New  York, 
I  should  think,  and  New  York  is  a  healthy  city. 
Thirteen  is  the  death-rate  for  the  average  citizen  of 
the  Province,  but  there  seems  to  be  no  death-rate  for 

171 


MARK     TWAIN 

the  old  people.  There  were  people  at  the  Commemo- 
ration banquet  who  could  remember  Cromwell. 
There  were  six  of  them.  These  Old  Settlers  had  all 
been  present  at  the  original  Reading  of  the  Procla- 
mation, in  1836.  They  showed  signs  of  the  bhght- 
ings  and  blastings  of  time,  in  their  outward  aspect, 
but  they  were  yoimg  within;  young  and  cheerful, 
and  ready  to  talk;  ready  to  talk,  and  talk  all  you 
wanted;  in  their  turn,  and  out  of  it.  They  were 
down  for  six  speeches,  and  they  made  forty-two. 
The  governor  and  the  cabinet  and  the  mayor  were 
do\\Ti  for  forty- two  speeches,  and  they  made  six. 
They  have  splendid  grit,  the  Old  Settlers,  splendid 
staying  power.  But  they  do  not  hear  well,  and  when 
they  see  the  mayor  going  through  motions  which 
they  recognize  as  the  introducing  of  a  speaker,  they 
think  they  are  the  one,  and  they  all  get  up  together, 
and  begin  to  respond,  in  the  most  animated  way; 
and  the  more  the  mayor  gesticulates,  and  shouts 
"Sit  down!  Sit  down!"  the  more  they  take  it  for 
applause,  and  the  more  excited  and  reminiscent  and 
enthusiastic  they  get;  and  next,  when  they  see  the 
whole  house  laughing  and  crying,  three  of  them 
think  it  is  about  the  bitter  old-time  hardships  they 
are  describing,  and  the  other  three  think  the  laughter 
is  caused  by  the  jokes  they  have  been  uncorking  — 
jokes  of  the  vintage  of  1836 — and  then  the  way  they 
^  go  on !  And  finally  when  ushers  come  and  plead, 
and  beg,  and  gently  and  reverently  crowd  them  down 
into  their  seats,  they  say,  "Oh,  I'm  not  tired — I 
could  bang  along  a  week!"  and  they  sit  there  looking 
simple  and  childlike,  and  gentle,  and  proud  of  their 

172 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

oratory,  and  wholly  unconscious  of  what  is  going 
on  at  the  other  end  of  the  room.  And  so  one  of 
the  great  dignitaries  gets  a  chance,  and  begins  his 
carefully  prepared  speech,  impressively  and  with 
solemnity : 

When  we,  now  great  and  prosperous  and  powerful,  bow  our 
heads  in  reverent  wonder  in  the  contemplation  of  those  sublimi- 
ties of  energy,  of  wisdom,  of  forethought,  of — 

Up  come  the  immortal  six  again,  in  a  body,  with 
a  joyous  "Hey,  I've  thought  of  another  one!"  and 
at  it  they  go,  with  might  and  main,  hearing  not  a 
whisper  of  the  pandemonium  that  salutes  them,  but 
taking  all  the  visible  violences  for  applause,  as  be- 
fore, and  hammering  joyously  away  till  the  implor- 
ing ushers  pray  them  into  their  seats  again.  And  a 
pity,  too;  for  those  lovely  old  boys  did  so  enjoy 
living  their  heroic  youth  over,  in  these  days  of  their 
honored  antiquity ;  and  certainly  the  things  they  had 
to  tell  were  usually  worth  the  telling  and  the  hearing. 

It  was  a  stirring  spectacle;  stirring  in  more  ways 
than  one,  for  it  was  amazingly  ftmny,  and  at  the 
same  time  deeply  pathetic;  for  they  had  seen  so 
much,  these  time-worn  veterans,  and  had  suffered  so 
much;  and  had  built  so  strongly  and  well,  and  laid 
the  fotmdations  of  their  commonwealth  so  deep,  in 
liberty  and  tolerance;  and  had  lived  to  see  the 
structure  rise  to  such  state  and  dignity  and  hear 
themselves  so  praised  for  their  honorable  work. 

One  of  these  old  gentlemen  told  me  some  things 
of  interest  afterward;  things  about  the  aboriginals, 
mainly.  He  thought  them  intelligent — remarkably 
so  in  some  directions — and  he  said  that  along  with 

173 


MARK     TWAIN 

their  unpleasant  qualities  they  had  some  exceedingly 
good  ones;  and  he  considered  it  a  great  pity  that 
the  race  had  died  out.  He  instanced  their  invention 
of  the  boomerang  and  the  '*weet-weet"  as  evidences 
of  their  brightness;  and  as  another  evidence  of  it 
he  said  he  had  never  seen  a  white  man  who  had 
cleverness  enough  to  learn  to  do  the  miracles  with 
those  two  toys  that  the  aboriginals  achieved.  He 
said  that  even  the  smartest  whites  had  been  obliged 
to  confess  that  they  could  not  learn  the  trick  of  the 
boomerang  in  perfection;  that  it  had  possibilities 
which  they  could  not  master.  The  white  man  could 
not  control  its  motions,  could  not  make  it  obey 
him;  but  the  aboriginal  could.  He  told  me  some 
wonderful  things — some  almost  incredible  things — 
which  he  had  seen  the  blacks  do  with  the  boomerang 
and  the  weet-weet.  They  have  been  confirmed  to 
me  since  by  other  early  settlers  and  by  trustworthy 
books. 

It  is  contended — and  may  be  said  to  be  conceded — 
that  the  boomerang  was  known  to  certain  savage 
tribes  in  Europe  in  Roman  times.  In  support  of 
this,  Virgil  and  two  other  Roman  poets  are  quoted. 
It  is  also  contended  that  it  was  known  to  the  ancient 
Egyptians. 

One  of  two  things  is  then  apparent;  either  some 
one  with  a  boomerang  arrived  in  Australia  in  the 
days  of  antiquity  before  European  knowledge  of  the 
thing  had  been  lost,  or  the  Australian  aboriginal 
re-invented  it.  It  will  take  some  time  to  find  out 
which  of  these  two  propositions  is  the  fact.  But 
there  is  no  hurry. 

174 


CHAPTER  XX 

AN  INTERMEZZO   IN  A  FOX-HUNT 

never  to  practise  either  of  them.-Pudd^nkead  Willon^N^^CaUnH"  ^^'""'^ 

CROM  Diary: 

F  Mr.  G.  called.  I  had  not  seen  him  since 
Nauheim,  Germany— several  years  ago;  the  time 
that  the  cholera  broke  out  at  Hamburg.  We  talked 
of  the  people  we  had  known  there,  or  had  casually 
met;  and  G.  said: 

"Do  you  remember  my  introducing  you  to  an 
earl— the  Earl  of  C.  ?" 

"Yes.  That  was  the  last  time  I  saw  you.  You 
and  he  were  in  a  carriage,  just  starting— belated— 
for  the  train.     I  remember  it." 

"I  remember  it  too,  because  of  a  thing  which 
happened  then  which  I  was  not  looking  for.  He 
had  told  me  awhile  before  about  a  remarkable  and 
mteresting  Califomian  whom  he  had  met  and  who 
was  a  friend  of  yours,  and  said  that  if  he  should 
ever  meet  you  he  would  ask  you  for  some  particulars 
about  that  Californian.  The  subject  was  not  men- 
tioned that  day  at  Nauheim,  for  we  were  hurrying 
away,  and  there  was  no  time;  but  the  thing  that 
surpnsed  me  was  this:  when  I  introduced  you,  you 
said,  'I  am  glad  to  meet  your  lordship— again.' 
The  'again'  was  the  surprise.     He  is  a  little  hard 

175 


MARK     TWAIN 

of  hearing,  and  didn't  catch  that  word,  and  I  thought 
you  hadn't  intended  that  he  should.  As  we  drove 
off  I  had  only  time  to  say,  'Why,  what  do  you  know 
about  him?'  and  I  understood  you  to  say,  'Oh, 
nothing,  except  that  he  is  the  qtiickest  judge  of — * 
Then  we  were  gone,  and  I  didn't  get  the  rest.  I 
wondered  what  it  was  that  he  was  such  a  quick 
judge  of.  I  have  thought  of  it  many  times  since, 
and  still  wondered  what  it  could  be.  He  and  I 
talked  it  over,  but  could  not  guess  it  out.  He 
thought  it  must  be  fox-hounds  or  horses,  for  he  is  a 
good  judge  of  those — no  one  is  a  better.  But  you 
couldn't  know  that,  because  you  didn't  know  him; 
you  had  mistaken  him  for  some  one  else ;  it  must  be 
that,  he  said,  because  he  knew  you  had  never  met 
him  before.     And  of  course  you  hadn't — had  you?'* 

*'Yes,  I  had." 

*'Is  that  so?     Where?" 

**At  a  fox-hunt,  in  England." 

*'How  cinious  that  is.  Why,  he  hadn't  the  least 
recollection  of  it.  Had  you  any  conversation  with 
him?" 

*'Some— yes." 

*'Well,  it  left  not  the  least  impression  upon  him. 
What  did  you  talk  about?" 

** About  the  fox.     I  think  that  was  all." 

*'Why,  that  would  interest  him;  that  ought  to 
have  left  an  impression.     What  did  he  talk  about?" 

*' The  fox." 

*'It's  very  curious.  I  don't  understand  it.  Did 
what  he  said  leave  an  impression  upon  you?" 

**Yes.    It  showed  me  that  he  was  a  quick  judge 

176 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

of — ^however,  I  will  tell  you  all  about  it,  then  you 
will  understand.  It  was  a  quarter  of  a  century  ago 
— 1873  or  '74.  I  had  an  American  friend  in  Lon- 
don named  F.,  who  was  fond  of  hunting,  and  his 
friends  the  Blanks  invited  him  and  me  to  come  out 
to  a  hunt  and  be  their  guests  at  their  country  place. 
In  the  morning  the  mounts  were  provided,  but  when 
I  saw  the  horses  I  changed  my  mind  and  asked 
permission  to  walk.  I  had  never  seen  an  English 
hunter  before,  and  it  seemed  to  me  that  I  could 
hunt  a  fox  safer  on  the  ground.  I  had  always  been 
diffident  about  horses,  anyway,  even  those  of  the 
common  altitudes,  and  I  did  not  feel  competent  to 
hunt  on  a  horse  that  went  on  stilts.  So  then  Mrs. 
Blank  came  to  my  help  and  said  I  could  go  with  her 
in  the  dog-cart  and  we  would  drive  to  a  place  she 
knew  of,  and  there  we  should  have  a  good  glimpse 
of  the  hunt  as  it  went  by. 

"When  we  got  to  that  place  I  got  out  and  went 
and  leaned  my  elbows  on  a  low  stone  wall  which 
inclosed  a  turfy  and  beautiful  great  field  with  heavy 
wood  on  all  its  sides  except  ours.  Mrs.  Blank  sat 
in  the  dog-cart  fifty  yards  away,  which  was  as  near 
as  she  cotild  get  with  the  vehicle.  I  was  full  of 
interest,  for  I  had  never  seen  a  fox-hunt.  I  waited, 
dreaming  and  imagining,  in  the  deep  stillness  and 
impressive  tranquillity  which  reigned  in  that  retired 
spot.  Presently,  from  away  off  in  the  forest  on  the 
left,  a  mellow  bugle-note  came  floating;  then  all  of 
a  sudden  a  multitude  of  dogs  burst  out  of  that  forest 
and  went  tearing  by  and  disappeared  in  the  forest 
on  the  right ;  there  was  a  pause,  and  then  a  cloud  of 

177 


MARK     TWAIN 

horsemen  in  black  caps  and  crimson  coats  plunged 
out  of  the  left-hand  forest  and  went  flaming  across 
the  field  like  a  prairie-fire,  a  stirring  sight  to  see. 
There  was  one  man  ahead  of  the  rest,  and  he  came 
spurring  straight  at  me.  He  was  fiercely  excited. 
It  was  fine  to  see  him  ride;  he  was  a  master  horse- 
man. He  came  like  a  storm  till  he  was  within  seven 
feet  of  me,  where  I  was  leaning  on  the  wall,  then  he 
stood  his  horse  straight  up  in  the  air  on  his  hind 
toe-nails,  and  shouted  like  a  demon: 

"'Which  way'd  the  fox  go?' 

"I  didn't  much  like  the  tone,  but  I  did  not  let 
on;  for  he  was  excited,  you  know.  But  I  was 
calm;   so  I  said  softly,  and  without  acrimony: 

'''Which  fox?' 

"It  seemed  to  anger  him.  I  don't  know  why; 
and  he  thundered  out : 

'"Which  fox?  Why,  the  fox!  Which  way  did 
the  fox  go?' 

"I  said,  with  great  gentleness — even  argumenta- 
tively : 

"'If  you  could  be  a  little  more  definite — a.  little 
less  vague — because  I  am  a  stranger,  and  there  are 
many  foxes,  as  you  will  know  even  better  than  I, 
and  unless  I  know  which  one  it  is  that  you  desire  to 
identify,  and — ' 

"'You're  certainly  the  damnedest  idiot  that  has 
escaped  in  a  thousand  years!'  and  he  snatched  his 
great  horse  around  as  easily  as  I  would  snatch  a  cat, 
and  was  away  like  a  hurricane.    A  very  excitable  man. 

"I  went  back  to  Mrs.  Blank,  and  she  was  excited, 
too — oh,  all  alive.     She  said: 

178 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

"'He  spoke  to  you! — didn't  he?' 

'"Yes,  it  is  what  happened.' 

"'I  knew  it!  I  couldn't  hear  what  he  said,  but  I 
knew  he  spoke  to  you!  Do  you  know  who  it  was? 
It  was  Lord  C, — and  he  is  Master  of  the  Buck- 
hounds!    Tell  me — what  do  you  think  of  him?' 

"'Him?  Well,  for  sizing  up  a  stranger,  he's  got 
the  most  sudden  and  accurate  judgment  of  any  man 
I  ever  saw.' 

''It  pleased  her.     I  thought  it  would." 

G.  got  away  from  Nauheim  just  in  time  to  escape 
being  shut  in  by  the  quarantine-bars  on  the  fron- 
tiers; and  so  did  we,  for  we  left  the  next  day.  But 
G.  had  a  great  deal  of  trouble  in  getting  by  the 
Italian  custom-house,  and  we  should  have  fared  like- 
wise but  for  the  thoughtf ulness  of  our  consul-general 
in  Frankfort.  He  introduced  me  to  the  Italian 
consul-general,  and  I  brought  away  from  that  con- 
sulate a  letter  which  made  our  way  smooth.  It  was 
a  dozen  lines  merely  commending  me  in  a  general 
way  to  the  courtesies  of  servants  in  his  Italian 
Majesty's  service,  but  it  was  more  powerful  than  it 
looked.  In  addition  to  a  raft  of  ordinary  baggage, 
we  had  six  or  eight  trunks  which  were  filled  exclu- 
sively with  dutiable  stuff — ^household  goods  pur- 
chased in  Frankfort  for  use  in  Florence,  where  we 
had  taken  a  house.  I  was  going  to  ship  these 
through  by  express ;  but  at  the  last  moment  an  order 
went  throughout  Germany  forbidding  the  moving 
of  any  parcels  by  train  unless  the  owner  went  with 
them.  This  was  a  bad  outlook.  We  must  take 
these  things  along,  and  the  delay  sure  to  be  caused 

179 


MARK     TWAIN 

by  the  examination  of  them  in  the  custom-house 
might  lose  us  our  train.  I  imagined  all  sorts  of 
terrors,  and  enlarged  them  steadily  as  we  approached 
the  Italian  frontier.  We  were  six  in  number,  clogged 
with  all  that  baggage,  and  I  was  courier  for  the 
party — the  most  incapable  one  they  ever  employed. 

We  arrived,  and  pressed  with  the  crowd  into  the 
immense  custom-house,  and  the  usual  worries  began ; 
everybody  crowding  to  the  center  and  begging  to 
have  his  baggage  examined  first,  and  all  hands  clat- 
tering and  chattering  at  once.  It  seemed  to  me  that 
I  could  do  nothing;  it  would  be  better  to  give  it  all 
up  and  go  away  and  leave  the  baggage.  I  couldn't 
speak  the  language;  I  should  never  accompHsh  any- 
thing. Just  then  a  tall,  handsome  man  in  a  fine 
uniform  was  passing  by,  and  I  knew  he  must  be  the 
station-master — and  that  reminded  me  of  my  letter. 
I  ran  to  him  and  put  it  into  his  hands.  He  took  it 
out  of  the  envelope,  and  the  moment  his  eye  caught 
the  royal  coat  of  arms  printed  at  its  top,  he  took  off 
his  cap  and  made  a  beautiful  bow  to  me,  and  said 
in  English: 

"Which  is  your  baggage?     Please  show  it  to  me." 

I  showed  him  the  motmtain.  Nobody  was  dis- 
turbing it;  nobody  was  interested  in  it;  all  the 
family's  attempts  to  get  attention  to  it  had  failed — 
except  in  the  case  of  one  of  the  tnmks  containing 
the  dutiable  goods.  It  was  just  being  opened.  My 
officer  said: 

"There,  let  that  alone!  Lock  it.  Now  chalk  it. 
Chalk  all  of  the  lot.  Now  please  come  and  show 
me  the  hand-baggage." 

1 80 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

He  plowed  through  the  waiting  crowd,  I  following, 
to  the  counter,  and  he  gave  orders  again,  in  his 
emphatic  miHtary  way : 

' '  Chalk  these.     Chalk  all  of  them. " 

Then  he  took  off  his  cap  and  made  that  beautiful 
bow  again,  and  went  his  way.  By  this  time  these 
attentions  had  attracted  the  wonder  of  that  acre  of 
passengers,  and  the  whisper  had  gone  around  that 
the  royal  family  were  present  getting  their  baggage 
chalked;  and  as  we  passed  down  in  review  on  oiu* 
way  to  the  door,  I  was  conscious  of  a  pervading 
atmosphere  of  envy  which  gave  me  deep  satisfaction. 

But  soon  there  was  an  accident.  My  overcoat 
pockets  were  stuffed  with  German  cigars  and  linen 
packages  of  American  smoking-tobacco,  and  a  porter 
was  following  us  aroimd  with  this  overcoat  on  his 
arm,  and  gradually  getting  it  upside  down.  Just  as 
I,  in  the  rear  of  my  family,  moved  by  the  sentinels 
at  the  door,  about  three  hatfuls  of  the  tobacco 
timibled  out  on  the  floor.  One  of  the  soldiers 
pounced  upon  it,  gathered  it  up  in  his  arms,  pointed 
back  whence  I  had  come,  and  marched  me  ahead  of 
him  past  that  long  wall  of  passengers  again — ^he 
chattering  and  exulting  like  a  devil,  they  smiling  in 
peaceful  joy,  and  I  trying  to  look  as  if  my  pride  was 
not  hurt,  and  as  if  I  did  not  mind  being  brought  to 
shame  before  these  pleased  people  who  had  so  lately 
envied  me.     But  at  heart  I  was  cruelly  humbled. 

When  I  had  been  marched  two-thirds  of  the  long 
distance  and  the  misery  of  it  was  at  the  worst,  the 
stately  station-master  stepped  out  from  somewhere, 
and  the  soldier  left  me  and  darted  after  him  and 

i8i 


MARK    TWAIN 

overtook  him;  and  I  could  see  by  the  soldier's 
excited  gestures  that  he  was  betraying  to  him  the 
whole  shabby  business.  The  station-master  was 
plainly  very  angry.  He  came  striding  down  toward 
me,  and  when  he  was  come  near  he  began  to  pour 
out  a  stream  of  indignant  Italian;  then  suddenly 
took  off  his  hat  and  made  that  beautiful  bow  and 
said: 

"Oh,  it  is  you!  1  beg  a  thousand  pardons!  This 
idiot  here — "  He  turned  to  the  exulting  soldier 
and  burst  out  with  a  flood  of  white-hot  Italian  lava, 
and  the  next  moment  he  was  bowing,  and  the  soldier 
and  I  were  moving  in  procession  again — he  in  the 
lead  and  ashamed,  this  time,  I  with  my  chin  up. 
And  so  we  marched  by  the  crowd  of  fascinated 
passengers,  and  I  went  forth  to  the  train  with  the 
honors  of  war.     Tobacco  and  all. 


CHAPTER  XXI 

ARSENIC  PUDDING  FOR   SAVAGES 

Man  will  do  many  things  to  get  himself  loved,  he  will  do  all  things  to  get  him- 
self envied. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

■f 

BEFORE  I  saw  Australia  I  had  never  heard  of  the 
"weet-weet"  at  all.  I  met  but  few  men  who 
had  seen  it  thrown — at  least  I  met  but  few  who 
mentioned  having  seen  it  thrown.  Roughly  de- 
scribed, it  is  a  fat  wooden  cigar  with  its  butt-end 
fastened  to  a  flexible  twig.  The  whole  thing  is  only 
a  couple  of  feet  long,  and  weighs  less  than  two 
ounces.  This  feather — so  to  call  it — ^is  not  thrown 
through  the  air,  but  is  flung  with  an  underhanded 
throw  and  made  to  strike  the  ground  a  little  way  in 
front  of  the  thrower;  then  it  glances  and  makes  a 
long  skip;  glances  again,  skips  again,  and  again  and 
again,  like  the  flat  stone  which  a  boy  sends  skating 
over  the  water.  The  water  is  smooth,  and  the  stone 
has  a  good  chance;  so  a  strong  man  may  make  it 
travel  fifty  or  seventy -five  yards ;  but  the  weet-weet 
has  no  such  good  chance,  for  it  strikes  sand,  grass, 
and  earth  in  its  course.  Yet  an  expert  aboriginal 
has  sent  it  a  measured  distance  of  two  hundred  and 
twenty  yards.  It  would  have  gone  even  further,  but 
it  encountered  rank  ferns  and  underwood  on  its 
passage  and  they  damaged  its  speed.  Two  hundred 
and  twenty  yards ;  and  so  weightless  a  toy — a  mouse 

183 


MARK     TWAIN 

on  the  end  of  a  bit  of  wire,  in  effect ;  and  not  sailing 
through  the  accommodating  air,  but  encountering 
grass  and  sand  and  stuff  at  every  jump.  It  looks 
wholly  impossible;  but  Mr.  Brough  Smyth  saw 
the  feat  and  did  the  measuring,  and  set  down  the 
facts  in  his  book  about  aboriginal  life,  which  he 
wrote  by  command  of  the  Victorian  Government. 
What  is  the  secret  of  the  feat?  No  one  explains. 
It  cannot  be  physical  strength,  for  that  could  not 
drive  such  a  feather-weight  any  distance.  It  must 
be  art.  But  no  one  explains  what  the  art  of  it  is; 
nor  how  it  gets  around  that  law  of  nature  which  says 
you  shall  not  throw  any  two-ounce  thing  two  hundred 
and  twenty  yards,  either  through  the  air  or  bumping 
along  the  ground.     Rev.  J.  G.  Wood  says: 

The  distance  to  which  the  weet-weet  or  kangaroo-rat  can  be 
thrown  is  truly  astonishing.  I  have  seen  an  Australian  stand  at 
one  side  of  Kennington  Oval  and  throw  the  kangaroo-rat  com- 
pletely across  it.  [Width  of  Kennington  Oval  not  stated.]  It 
darts  through  the  air  with  the  sharp  and  menacing  hiss  of  a  rifie- 
ball,  its  greatest  height  from  the  ground  being  some  seven  or 
eight  feet.  .  .  .  When  properly  thrown  it  looks  just  like  a 
Uving  animal  leaping  along.  ...  Its  movements  have  a  won- 
derful resemblance  to  the  long  leaps  of  a  kangaroo-rat  fleeing  in 
alarm,  with  its  long  tail  trailing  behind  it. 

The  Old  Settler  said  that  he  had  seen  distances 
made  by  the  weet-weet,  in  the  early  days,  which 
almost  convinced  him  that  it  was  as  extraordinary 
an  instrument  as  the  boomerang. 

There  must  have  been  a  large  distribution  of  acute- 
ness  among  those  naked,  skinny  aboriginals,  or  they 
couldn't  have  been  such  unapproachable  trackers 
and  boomerangers  and  weet-weeters.     It  must  have 

184 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

been  race-aversion  thai  put  upon  them  a  good  deal 
of  the  low-rate  intellectual  reputation  which  they 
bear  and  have  borne  this  long  time  in  the  world's 
estimate  of  them. 

They  were  lazy — always  lazy.  Perhaps  that  was 
their  trouble.  It  is  a  killing  defect.  Surely  they 
could  have  invented  and  built  a  competent  house, 
but  they  didn't.  And  they  could  have  invented  and 
developed  the  agricultural  arts,  but  they  didn't. 
They  went  naked  and  houseless,  and  lived  on  fish 
and  grubs  and  worms  and  wild  fruits,  and  were  just 
plain  savages,  for  all  their  smartness. 

With  a  country  as  big  as  the  United  States  to  live 
and  multiply  in,  and  with  no  epidemic  diseases 
among  them  till  the  white  man  came  with  those  and 
his  other  appHances  of  civilization,  it  is  quite  proba- 
ble that  there  was  never  a  day  in  his  history  when 
he  could  muster  one  hundred  thousand  of  his  race  in 
all  Australia.  He  diligently  and  deHberately  kept 
population  down  by  infanticide — largely ;  but  mainly 
by  certain  other  methods.  He  did  not  need  to  prac- 
tise these  artificialities  any  more  after  the  white  man 
came.  The  white  man  knew  ways  of  keeping  down 
population  which  were  worth  several  of  his.  The 
white  man  knew  ways  of  reducing  a  native  popula- 
tion eighty  per  cent,  in  twenty  years.  The  native 
had  never  seen  anything  as  fine  as  that  before. 

For  example,  there  is  the  case  of  the  coimtry  now 
called  Victoria — sl  country  eighty  times  as  large  as 
Rhode  Island,  as  I  have  already  said.  By  the  best 
official  guess  there  were  forty-five  hundred  aborigi- 
nals in  it  when  the  whites  came  along  in  the  middle 

i8s 


MARK     TWAIN 

of  the  thirties.  Of  these  one  thousand  lived  in 
Gippsland,  a  patch  of  territory  the  size  of  fifteen  or 
sixteen  Rhode  Islands:  they  did  not  diminish  as 
fast  as  some  of  the  other  communities;  indeed,  at 
the  end  of  forty  years  there  were  still  two  hundred  of 
them  left.  The  Geelong  tribe  diminished  more  satis- 
factorily: from  one  hundred  and  seventy- three  per- 
sons it  faded  to  thirty -four  in  twenty  years;  at  the 
end  of  another  twenty  the  tribe  numbered  one  person 
altogether.  The  two  Melbourne  tribes  could  muster 
almost  three  hundred  when  the  white  man  came; 
they  could  muster  but  twenty  thirty-seven  years 
later,  in  1875.  I^  ^^at  year  there  were  still  odds 
and  ends  of  tribes  scattered  about  the  colony  of 
Victoria,  but  I  was  told  that  natives  of  full  blood 
are  very  scarce  now.  It  is  said  that  the  aboriginals 
continue  in  some  force  in  the  huge  territory  called 
Queensland. 

The  early  whites  were  not  used  to  savages.  They 
could  not  understand  the  primary  law  of  savage  life : 
that  if  a  man  do  you  a  wrong,  his  whole  tribe  is 
responsible — each  individual  of  it — and  you  may 
take  your  change  out  of  any  individual  of  it,  without 
bothering  to  seek  out  the  guilty  one.  When  a  white 
killed  an  aboriginal,  the  tribe  applied  the  ancient  law, 
and  killed  the  first  white  they  came  across.  To 
the  whites  this  was  a  monstrous  thing.  Extermina- 
tion seemed  to  be  the  proper  medicine  for  such  crea- 
tures as  this.  They  did  not  kill  all  the  blacks,  but 
they  promptly  killed  enough  of  them  to  make  their 
own  persons  safe.  From  the  dawn  of  civilization 
down  to  this  day  the  white  man  has  always  used 

186 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

that  very  precaution.  Mrs.  Campbell  Praed  lived  in 
Queensland,  as  a  child,  in  the  early  days,  and  in  her 
Sketches  of  Australian  Life  we  get  informing  pictures 
of  the  early  struggles  of  the  white  and  the  black  to 
reform  each  other. 

Speaking  of  pioneer  days  in  the  mighty  wilderness 
of  Queensland,  Mrs.  Praed  says: 


At  first  the  natives  retreated  before  the  whites;  and,  except 
that  they  every  now  and  then  speared  a  beast  in  one  of  the  herds, 
gave  httle  cause  for  uneasiness.  But,  as  the  number  of  squatters 
increased,  each  one  taking  up  miles  of  country  and  bringing 
two  or  three  men  in  his  train,  so  that  shepherds'  huts  and  stock- 
men's camps  lay  far  apart,  and  defenseless  in  the  midst  of  hostile 
tribes,  the  Blacks'  depredations  became  more  frequent  and  mur- 
der was  no  unusual  event. 

The  loneliness  of  the  Australian  bush  can  hardly  be  painted 
in  words.  Here  extends  mile  after  mile  of  primeval  forest  where 
perhaps  foot  of  white  man  has  never  trod — interminable  vistas 
where  the  eucalyptus  trees  rear  their  lofty  trunks  and  spread 
forth  their  lanky  limbs,  from  which  the  red  gum  oozes  and  hangs 
in  fantastic  pendants  like  crimson  stalactites;  ravines  along  the 
sides  of  which  the  long-bladed  grass  grows  rankly;  level  untim- 
bered  plains  alternating  with  undulating  tracts  of  pasture,  here 
and  there  broken  by  a  stony  ridge,  steep  gully,  or  dried-up  creek. 
All  wild,  vast,  and  desolate;  all  the  same  monotonous  gray 
coloring,  except  where  the  wattle,  when  in  blossom,  shows 
patches  of  feathery  gold,  or  a  belt  of  scrub  lies  green,  glossy, 
and  impenetrable  as  Indian  jungle. 

The  solitude  seems  intensified  by  the  strange  sounds  of  rep- 
tiles, birds,  and  insects,  and  by  the  absence  of  larger  creatures; 
of  which  in  the  daytime  the  only  audible  signs  are  the  stampede 
of  a  herd  of  kangaroo,  or  the  rustle  of  a  wallabi,  or  a  dingo  stirring 
the  grass  as  it  creeps  to  its  lair.  But  there  are  the  whirring  of 
locusts,  the  demoniac  chuckle  of  the  laughing  jackass,  the 
screeching  of  cockatoos  and  parrots,  the  hissing  of  the  frilled 
lizard,  and  the  buzzing  of  innumerable  insects  hidden  under  the 
dense  undergrowth.    And  then  at  night,  the  melancholy  wailing 

187 


MARK     TWAIN 

of  the  curlews,  the  dismal  howling  of  dingoes,  the  discordant 
croaking  of  tree-frogs,  might  well  shake  the  nerves  of  the  solitary 
watcher. 

That  is  the  theater  for  the  drama.  When  you 
comprehend  one  or  two  other  details,  you  will  per- 
ceive how  well  suited  for  trouble  it  was,  and  how 
loudly  it  invited  it.  The  cattlemen's  stations  were 
scattered  over  that  profound  wilderness  miles  and 
miles  apart — at  each  station  half  a  dozen  persons. 
There  was  a  plenty  of  cattle,  the  black  natives  were 
always  ill-nourished  and  hungry.  The  land  belonged 
to  them.  The  whites  had  not  bought  it,  and  couldn't 
buy  it;  for  the  tribes  had  no  chiefs,  nobody  in 
authority,  nobody  competent  to  sell  and  convey; 
and  the  tribes  themselves  had  no  comprehension  of 
the  idea  of  transferable  ownership  of  land.  The 
ousted  owners  were  despised  by  the  white  interlopers, 
and  this  opinion  was  not  hidden  under  a  bushel. 
More  promising  materials  for  a  tragedy  could  not 
have  been  collated.     Let  Mrs.  Praed  speak: 

At  Nie  Nie  station,  one  dark  night,  the  unsuspecting  hut- 
keeper,  having,  as  he  believed,  secured  himself  against  assault, 
was  lying  wrapped  in  his  blankets  sleeping  profoundly.  The 
Blacks  crept  stealthily  down  the  chimney  and  battered  in  his 
skull  while  he  slept. 

One  could  guess  the  whole  drama  from  that  little 
text.  The  curtain  was  up.  It  would  not  fall  until 
the  mastership  of  one  party  or  the  other  was  deter- 
mined— and  permanently : 

There  was  treachery  on  both  sides.  The  Blacks  killed  the 
Whites  when  they  found  them  defenseless,  and  the  Whites  slew 
the  Blacks  in  a  wholesale  and  promiscuous  fashion  which  offended 

i88 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

against  my  childish  sense  of  justice.  .  .  .  They  were  regarded 
as  httle  above  the  level  of  brutes,  and  in  some  cases  were  destroyed 
like  vermin. 

Here  is  an  instance.  A  squatter,  whose  station  was  surrounded 
by  Blacks,  whom  he  suspected  to  be  hostile  and  from  whom  he 
feared  an  attack,  parleyed  with  them  from  his  house-door.  He 
told  them  it  was  Christmas-time — a.  time  at  which  all  men, 
black  or  white,  feasted;  that  there  were  flour,  sugar-plums,  good 
things  in  plenty  in  the  store,  and  that  he  would  make  for  them 
such  a  pudding  as  they  had  never  dreamed  of — a  great  pudding 
of  which  all  might  eat  and  be  filled.  The  Blacks  listened  and 
were  lost.  The  pudding  was  made  and  distributed.  Next 
morning  there  was  howling  in  the  camp,  for  it  had  been  sweet- 
ened with  sugar  and  arsenic! 

The  white  man's  spirit  was  right,  but  his  method 
was  wrong.  His  spirit  was  the  spirit  which  the 
civiHzed  white  has  always  exhibited  toward  the 
savage,  but  the  use  of  poison  was  a  departure  from 
custom.  True,  it  was  merely  a  technical  departure, 
not  a  real  one;  still,  it  was  a  departure,  and  there- 
fore a  mistake,  in  my  opinion.  It  was  better,  kinder, 
swifter,  and  much  more  himiane  than  a  number  of 
the  methods  which  have  been  sanctified  by  custom, 
but  that  does  not  justify  its  employment.  That  is, 
it  does  not  wholly  justify  it.  Its  unusual  nature 
makes  it  stand  out  and  attract  an  amoimt  of  atten- 
tion which  it  is  not  entitled  to.  It  takes  hold  upon 
morbid  imaginations  and  they  work  it  up  into  a 
sort  of  exhibition  of  cruelty,  and  this  smirches  the 
good  name  of  our  civilization,  whereas  one  of  the 
old  harsher  methods  would  have  had  no  such  effect 
because  usage  has  made  those  methods  famihar  to 
us  and  innocent.  In  many  countries  we  have 
chained  the  savage  and  starved  him  to  death;   and 

189 


MARK     TWAIN 

this  we  do  not  care  for,  because  custom  has  inured 
us  to  it ;  yet  a  quick  death  by  poison  is  loving-kind- 
ness to  it.  In  many  countries  we  have  burned  the 
savage  at  the  stake;  and  this  we  do  not  care  for, 
because  custom  has  inured  us  to  it;  yet  a  quick 
death  is  loving-kindness  to  it.  In  more  than  one 
coimtry  we  have  hunted  the  savage  and  his  little 
children  and  their  mother  with  dogs  and  guns 
through  the  woods  and  swamps  for  an  afternoon's 
sport,  and  filled  the  region  with  happy  laughter 
over  their  sprawling  and  stumbling  flight,  and  their 
wild  supplications  for  mercy ;  but  this  method  we  do 
not  mind,  because  custom  has  inured  us  to  it;  yet 
a  quick  death  by  poison  is  loving-kindness  to  it.  In 
many  coimtries  we  have  taken  the  savage's  land 
from  him,  and  made  him  our  slave,  and  lashed  him 
every  day,  and  broken  his  pride,  and  made  death 
his  only  friend,  and  overworked  him  till  he  dropped 
in  his  tracks;  and  this  we  do  not  care  for,  because 
custom  has  iniu-ed  us  to  it;  yet  a  quick  death  by 
poison  is  loving-kindness  to  it.  In  the  Matabeleland 
to-day — why,  there  we  are  confining  ourselves  to 
sanctified  custom,  we  Rhodes-Beit  millionaires  in 
South  Africa  and  Dukes  in  London;  and  nobody 
cares,  because  we  are  used  to  the  old  holy  customs, 
and  all  we  ask  is  that  no  notice-inviting  new  ones 
shall  be  intruded  upon  the  attention  of  our  comfort- 
able consciences.  Mrs.  Praed  says  of  the  poisoner, 
"That  squatter  deserves  to  have  his  name  handed 
down  to  the  contempt  of  posterity." 

I  am  sorry  to  hear  her  say  that.     I  myself  blame 
him  for  one  thing,  and  severely,  but  I  stop  there.     I 

190 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

blame  him  for  the  indiscretion  of  introducing  a  nov- 
elty which  was  calculated  to  attract  attention  to  our 
civilization.  There  was  no  occasion  to  do  that.  It 
was  his  duty,  and  it  is  every  loyal  man's  duty,  to 
protect  that  heritage  in  every  way  he  can;  and  the 
best  way  to  do  that  is  to  attract  attention  elsewhere. 
The  squatter's  judgment  was  bad — that  is  plain; 
but  his  heart  was  right.  He  is  almost  the  only 
pioneering  representative  of  civilization  in  history 
Vv'ho  has  risen  above  the  prejudices  of  his  caste  and 
his  heredity  and  tried  to  introduce  the  element  of 
mercy  into  the  superior  race's  dealings  with  the 
savage.  His  name  is  lost,  and  it  is  a  pity;  for  it 
deserves  to  be  handed  down  to  posterity  with  homage 
and  reverence. 

This  paragraph  is  from  a  London  journal: 

To  leam  what  France  is  doing  to  spread  the  blessings  of 
civilization  in  her  distant  dependencies  we  may  turn  with  advan- 
tage to  New  Caledonia.  With  a  view  to  attracting  free  settlers 
to  that  penal  colony,  M.  Feillet,  the  Governor,  forcibly  expro- 
priated the  Kanaka  cultivators  from  the  best  of  their  plantations, 
with  a  derisory  compensation,  in  spite  of  the  protests  of  the 
Council  General  of  the  island.  Such  immigrants  as  could  be 
induced  to  cross  the  seas  thus  found  themselves  in  possession 
of  thousands  of  coffee,  cocoa,  banana,  and  bread-fruit  trees,  the 
raising  of  which  had  cost  the  wretched  natives  years  of  toil, 
whilst  the  latter  had  a  few  five-franc  pieces  to  spend  in  the 
liquor  stores  of  Noumea. 

You  observe  the  combination?  It  is  robbery, 
humiliation,  and  slow,  slow  murder,  through  poverty 
and  the  white  man's  whisky.  The  savage's  gentle 
friend,  the  savage's  noble  friend,  the  only  magnani- 
mous and  unselfish  friend  the  savage  has  ever  had, 

191 


MARK     TWAIN 

was  not  there  with  the  merciful  swift  release  of  his 
poisoned  pudding. 

There  are  many  humorous  things  in  the  world; 
among  them  the  white  man's  notion  that  he  is  less 
savage  than  the  other  savages.^ 

*  See  Chapter  on  Tasmania,  post. 


CHAPTER  XXII 

MAGIC   OF   THE  ABORIGINALS 

Nothing  is  so  ignorant  as  a  man's  left  hand,  except  a  lady's  watch. 

— Pudd'uhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

YOU  notice  that  Mrs.  Praed  knows  her  art.  She 
can  place  a  thing  before  you  so  that  you  can 
see  it.  She  is  not  alone  in  that.  Australia  is  fertile 
in  writers  whose  books  are  faithful  mirrors  of  the  life 
of  the  country  and  of  its  history.  The  materials 
were  surprisingly  rich,  both  in  quality  and  in  mass, 
and  Marcus  Clarke,  Rolf  Boldrewood,  Gordon,  Ken- 
dall, and  the  others,  have  built  out  of  them  a  brilliant 
and  vigorous  literature,  and  one  which  must  endure. 
Materials — there  is  no  end  to  them !  Why,  a  litera- 
ture might  be  made  out  of  the  aboriginal  all  by 
himself,  his  character  and  ways  are  so  freckled  with 
varieties — ^varieties  not  staled  by  familiarity,  but 
new  to  us.  You  do  not  need  to  invent  any  pic- 
tiu*esquenesses ;  whatever  you  want  in  that  line  he 
can  furnish  you;  and  they  will  not  be  fancies  and 
doubtful,  but  realities  and  authentic.  In  his  his- 
tory, as  preserved  by  the  white  man's  official  records, 
he  is  everything — everything  that  a  human  creature 
can  be.  He  covers  the  entire  ground.  He  is  a 
coward — there  are  a  thousand  facts  to  prove  it. 
He  is  brave — there  are  a  thousand  facts  to  prove  it. 
He  is  treacherous — oh,  beyond  imagination!     He  is 

193 


MARK     TWAIN 

faithful,  loyal,  true — the  white  man's  records  supply 
you  with  a  harvest  of  instances  of  it  that  are  noble, 
worshipful,  and  pathetically  beautiful.  He  kills  the 
starving  stranger  who  comes  begging  for  food  and 
shelter — there  is  proof  of  it.  He  succors,  and  feeds, 
and  guides  to  safety,  to-day,  the  lost  stranger  who 
fired  on  him  only  yesterday — there  is  proof  of  it. 
He  takes  his  reluctant  bride  by  force,  he  courts  her 
with  a  club,  then  loves  her  faithfully  through  a  long 
life — it  is  of  record.  He  gathers  to  himself  another 
wife  by  the  same  processes,  beats  and  bangs  her  as 
a  daily  diversion,  and  by  and  by  lays  down  his  life 
in  defending  her  from  some  outside  harm — ^it  is  of 
record.  He  will  face  a  hundred  hostiles  to  rescue 
one  of  his  children,  and  will  kill  another  of  his  chil- 
dren because  the  family  is  large  enough  without  it. 
His  delicate  stomach  turns,  at  certain  details  of  the 
white  man's  food;  but  he  likes  over-ripe  fish,  and 
braised  dog,  and  cat,  and  rat,  and  will  eat  his  own 
uncle  with  relish.  He  is  a  sociable  animal,  yet  he 
turns  aside  and  hides  behind  his  shield  when  his 
mother-in-law  goes  by.  He  is  childishly  afraid  of 
ghosts  and  other  trivialities  that  menace  his  soul, 
but  dread  of  physical  pain  is  a  weakness  which  he  is 
not  acquainted  with.  He  knows  all  the  great  and 
many  of  the  little  constellations,  and  has  names  for 
them;  he  has  a  symbol-writing  by  means  of  which 
he  can  convey  messages  far  and  wide  among  the 
tribes ;  he  has  a  correct  eye  for  form  and  expression, 
and  draws  a  good  picture;  he  can  track  a  fugitive 
by  delicate  traces  which  the  white  man's  eye  cannot 
discern,   and   by   methods   which    the   finest   white 

194 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

intelligence  cannot  master;  he  makes  a  missile 
which  science  itself  cannot  dupHcate  without  the 
model — ^if  with  it;  a  missile  whose  secret  baffled  and 
defeated  the  searchings  and  theorizings  of  the  white 
mathematicians  for  seventy  years;  and  by  an  art 
all  his  own  he  performs  miracles  with  it  which  the 
white  man  cannot  approach  untaught,  nor  parallel 
after  teaching.  Within  certain  limits  this  savage's 
intellect  is  the  alertest  and  the  brightest  known  to 
history  or  tradition;  and  yet  the  poor  creature  was 
never  able  to  invent  a  coimting  system  that  would 
reach  above  five,  nor  a  vessel  that  he  could  boil 
water  in.  He  is  the  prize-curiosity  of  all  the  races. 
To  all  intents  and  purposes  he  is  dead — ^in  the  body; 
but  he  has  features  that  will  live  in  literature. 

Mr.  Philip  Chaimcy,  an  officer  of  the  Victorian 
Govenmient,  contributed  to  its  archives  a  report  of 
his  personal  observations  of  the  aboriginals  which 
has  in  it  some  things  which  I  wish  to  condense 
sHghtly  and  insert  here.  He  speaks  of  the  quick- 
ness of  their  eyes  and  the  accuracy  of  their  judgment 
of  the  direction  of  approaching  missiles  as  being 
quite  extraordinary,  and  of  the  answering  supple- 
ness and  accuracy  of  limb  and  muscle  in  avoiding 
the  missile  as  being  extraordinary  also.  He  has 
seen  an  aboriginal  stand  as  a  target  for  cricket-balls 
thrown  with  great  force  ten  or  fifteen  yards,  by  pro- 
fessional bowlers,  and  successfully  dodge  them  or 
parry  them  with  his  shield  during  about  half  an  hour. 
One  of  those  balls,  properly  placed,  could  have  killed 
him;  "Yet  he  depended,  with  the  utmost  self-pos- 
session, on  the  quickness  of  his  eye  and  his  agility.** 

195 


MARK     TWAIN 

The  shield  was  the  customary  war-shield  of  his 
race,  and  would  not  be  a  protection  to  you  or  to  me. 
It  is  no  broader  than  a  stovepipe,  and  is  about  as 
long  as  a  man's  arm.  The  opposing  surface  is  not 
flat,  but  slopes  away  from  the  center-line  like  a 
boat's  bow.  The  difficulty  about  a  cricket-ball  that 
has  been  thrown  with  a  scientific  "twist"  is,  that 
it  suddenly  changes  its  course  when  it  is  close  to  its 
target  and  comes  straight  for  the  mark  when  appar- 
ently it  was  going  overhead  or  to  one  side.  I  should 
not  be  able  to  protect  myself  from  such  balls  for 
half  an  hour,  or  less. 

Mr.  Chauncy  once  saw  "a  little  native  man" 
throw  a  cricket-ball  one  hundred  and  nineteen  yards. 
This  is  said  to  beat  the  English  professional  record 
by  thirteen  yards. 

We  have  all  seen  the  circus-man  bound  into  the 
air  from  a  spring-board  and  make  a  somersault  over 
eight  horses  standing  side  by  side.  Mr.  Chaimcy 
saw  an  aboriginal  do  it  over  eleven;  and  was  assured 
that  he  had  sometimes  done  it  over  fourteen.  But 
what  is  that  to  this: 

I  saw  the  same  man  leap  from  the  ground^  and  in  going  over  he 
dipped  his  head,  unaided  by  his  hands,  into  a  hat  placed  in  an 
inverted  position  on  the  top  of  the  head  of  another  man  sitting 
upright  on  horseback — both  man  and  horse  being  of  the  average 
size.  The  native  landed  on  the  other  side  of  the  horse  with  the 
hat  fairly  on  his  head.  The  prodigious  height  of  the  leap,  and 
the  precision  with  which  it  was  taken  so  as  to  enable  him  to 
dip  his  head  into  the  hat,  exceeded  any  feat  of  the  kind  I  have 
ever  beheld. 

I  should  think  so!  On  board  a  ship  lately  I  saw 
a  young  Oxford  athlete  run  four  steps  and  spring 

196 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

into  the  air  and  squirm  his  hips  by  a  side-twist  over 
a  bar  that  was  five  and  one-half  feet  high;  but  he 
could  not  have  stood  still  and  cleared  a  bar  that  was 
four  feet  high.     I  know  this,  because  I  tried  it  myself. 

One  can  see  now  where  the  kangaroo  learned  its 
art. 

Sir  George  Grey  and  Mr.  Eyre  testify  that  the 
native  dug  wells  fourteen  or  fifteen  feet  deep  and 
two  feet  in  diameter  at  the  bore — dug  them  in  the 
sand — wells  that  were  "quite  circular,  carried  straight 
down,  and  the  work  beautifully  executed." 

Their  tools  were  their  hands  and  feet.  How  did 
they  throw  sand  out  from  such  a  depth?  How 
could  they  stoop  down  and  get  it,  with  only  two 
feet  of  space  to  stoop  in?  How  did  they  keep  that 
sand-pipe  from  caving  in  on  them?  I  do  not  know. 
Still,  they  did  manage  those  seeming  impossibilities. 
Swallowed  the  sand,  maybe. 

Mr.  Chauncy  speaks  highly  of  the  patience  and 
skill  and  alert  intelligence  of  the  native  huntsman 
when  he  is  stalking  the  emu,  the  kangaroo,  and 
other  game : 

As  he  walks  through  the  bush  his  step  is  light,  elastic,  and 
noiseless;  every  track  on  the  earth  catches  his  keen  eye;  a  leaf, 
or  fragment  of  a  stick  turned,  or  a  blade  of  grass  recently  bent 
by  the  tread  of  one  of  the  lower  animals,  instantly  arrests  his 
attention;  in  fact,  nothing  escapes  his  quick  and  powerful  sight 
on  the  ground,  in  the  trees,  or  in  the  distance,  which  may  supply 
him  with  a  meal  or  warn  him  of  danger.  A  little  examination 
of  the  trunk  of  a  tree  which  may  be  nearly  covered  with  the 
scratches  of  opossums  ascending  and  descending  is  sufficient  to 
inform  him  whether  one  went  up  the  night  before  without  coming 
down  again  or  not. 

197 


MARK     TWAIN 

Fenimore  Cooper  lost  his  chance.  He  would  have 
known  how  to  value  these  people.  He  v/ouldn't 
have  traded  the  dullest  of  them  for  the  brightest 
Mohawk  he  ever  invented. 

All  savages  draw  outline  pictures  upon  bark;  but 
the  resemblances  are  not  close,  and  expression  is 
usually  lacking.  But  the  Australian  aboriginal's 
pictures  of  animals  were  nicely  accurate  in  form, 
attitude,  carriage;  and  he  put  spirit  into  them,  and 
expression.  And  his  pictures  of  white  people  and 
natives  were  pretty  nearly  as  good  as  his  pictures 
of  the  other  animals.  He  dressed  his  whites  in  the 
fashion  of  their  day,  both  the  ladies  and  the  gentle- 
men. As  an  untaught  wielder  of  the  pencil  it  is  not 
likely  that  he  has  his  equal  among  savage  people. 

His  place  in  art — as  to  drawing,  not  color- work 
— is  well  up,  all  things  considered.  His  art  is  not 
to  be  classified  with  savage  art  at  all,  but  on  a 
plane  two  degrees  above  it  and  one  degree  above  the 
lowest  plane  of  civilized  art.  To  be  exact,  his  place 
in  art  is  between  Botticelli  and  Du  Maurier.  That 
is  to  say,  he  could  not  draw  as  well  as  Du  Maurier, 
but  better  than  Botticelli.  In  feeling,  he  resembles 
both;  also  in  grouping  and  in  his  preferences  in  the 
matter  of  subjects.  His  "  corrobboree  "  of  the  Aus- 
trahan  wilds  reappears  in  Du  Maurier's  Belgravian 
ballrooms,  with  clothes  and  the  smirk  of  civilization 
added;  Botticelli's  "Spring"  is  the  corrobboree  fur- 
ther idealized,  but  with  fewer  clothes  and  more  smirk. 
And  well  enough  as  to  intention,  but — my  word! 

The  aboriginal  can  make  a  fire  by  friction.  I' 
have  tried  that. 

198 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

All  savages  are  able  to  stand  a  good  deal  of  physical 
pain.  The  Australian  aboriginal  has  this  quality  in 
a  well-developed  degree.  Do  not  read  the  following 
instances  if  horrors  are  not  pleasant  to  you.  They 
were  recorded  by  the  Rev.  Henry  N.  Wolloston, 
of  Melbourne,  who  had  been  a  surgeon  before  he 
became  a  clergyman: 

(i)  In  the  summer  of  1852  I  started  on  horseback  from  Albany, 
King  George's  Sound,  to  visit  at  Cape  Riche,  accompanied  by 
a  native  on  foot.  We  traveled  about  forty  miles  the  first  day, 
then  camped  by  a  water-hole  for  the  night.  After  cooking  and 
eating  our  supper,  I  observed  the  native,  who  had  said  nothing 
to  me  on  the  subject,  collect  the  hot  embers  of  the  fire  together, 
and  deliberately  place  his  right  foot  in  the  glowing  mass  for  a 
moment,  then  suddenly  withdraw  it,  stamping  on  the  ground 
and  uttering  a  long-drawn  guttural  sound  of  mingled  pain  and 
satisfaction.  This  operation  he  repeated  several  times.  On 
my  inquiring  the  meaning  of  his  strange  conduct,  he  only  said, 
**Me  carpenter-make  'em"  C'l  am  mending  my  foot"),  and  then 
showed  me  his  charred  great  toe,  the  nail  of  which  had  been  torn 
off  by  a  tea-tree  stump,  in  which  it  had  been  caught  during  the 
journey,  and  the  pain  of  which  he  had  borne  with  stoical  com- 
posure until  the  evening,  when  he  had  an  opportimity  of  cau- 
terizing the  wound  in  the  primitive  manner  above  described. 

And  he  proceeded  on  the  journey  the  next  day, 
''as  if  nothing  had  happened  "—and  walked  thirty 
miles.  It  was  a  strange  idea,  to  keep  a  surgeon  and 
then  do  his  own  surgery. 

(2)  A  native  about  twenty-five  years  of  age  once  applied  to  me, 
as  a  doctor,  to  extract  the  wooden  barb  of  a  spear,  which,  during 
a  fight  in  the  bush  some  four  months  previously,  had  entered 
his  chest,  just  missing  the  heart,  and  penetrated  the  viscera  to 
a  considerable  depth.  The  spear  had  been  cut  off,  leaving  the 
barb  behind,  which  continued  to  force  its  way  by  muscular 
action  gradually  toward  the  back;   and  when  I  examined  him 

199 


MARK    TWAIN 

I  could  feel  a  hard  substance  between  the  ribs  below  the  left- 
blade  bone.  I  made  a  deep  incision,  and  with  a  pair  of  forceps 
extracted  the  barb,  which  was  made,  as  usual,  of  hard  wood 
about  four  inches  long  and  from  half  an  inch  to  an  inch  thick. 
It  was  very  smooth,  and  partly  digested,  so  to  speak,  by  the 
maceration  to  which  it  had  been  exposed  during  its  four  months* 
journey  through  the  body.  The  wound  made  by  the  spear  had 
long  since  healed,  leaving  only  a  small  cicatrix;  and  after  the 
operation,  which  the  native  bore  without  flinching,  he  appeared 
to  suffer  no  pain.  Indeed,  judging  from  his  good  state  of  health, 
the  presence  of  the  foreign  matter  did  not  materially  annoy 
him.     He  was  perfectly  well  in  a  few  days. 

But  No.  3  is  my  favorite.  Whenever  I  read  it  I 
seem  to  enjoy  all  that  the  patient  enjoyed — what- 
ever it  was : 

(3)  Once  at  King  George's  Sound  a  native  presented  himself 
to  me  with  one  leg  only,  and  requested  me  to  supply  him  with 
a  wooden  leg.  He  had  traveled  in  this  maimed  state  about 
ninety-six  miles,  for  this  purpose.  I  examined  the  limb,  which 
had  been  severed  just  below  the  knee,  and  found  that  it  had 
been  charred  by  fire,  while  about  two  inches  of  the  partially 
calcined  bone  protruded  through  the  flesh.  I  at  once  removed 
this  with  the  saw;  and  having  made  as  presentable  a  stump  of 
it  as  I  could,  covered  the  amputated  end  of  the  bone  with  a 
surrounding  of  muscle,  and  kept  the  patient  a  few  days  under 
my  care  to  allow  the  wound  to  heal.  On  inquiring,  the  native 
told  me  that  in  a  fight  with  other  black  fellows  a  spear  had  struck 
his  leg  and  penetrated  the  bone  below  the  knee.  Finding  it  was 
serious,  he  had  recourse  to  the  following  crude  and  barbarous 
operation,  which  it  appears  is  not  uncommon  among  these  people 
in  their  native  state.  He  made  a  fire,  and  dug  a  hole  in  the  earth 
only  sufficiently  large  to  admit  his  leg,  and  deep  enough  to 
allow  the  wounded  part  to  be  on  a  level  with  the  surface  of  the 
grotmd.  He  then  surrounded  the  limb  with  the  live  coals  or 
charcoal,  which  was  replenished  until  the  leg  was  Hterally  burnt 
off.  The  cauterization  thus  applied  completely  checked  the 
hemorrhage,  and  he  was  able  in  a  day  or  two  to  hobble  down  to 
the  Soimd,  with  the  aid  of  a  long  stout  stick,  although  he  was 
more  than  a  week  on  the  road. 

200 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

But  he  was  a  fastidious  native.  He  soon  dis- 
carded the  wooden  leg  made  for  him  by  the  doctor, 
because  "it  had  no  feeling  in  it."  It  must  have  had 
as  much  as  the  one  he  burnt  off,  I  should  think. 

So  much  for  the  Aboriginals.  It  is  difficult  for 
me  to  let  them  alone.  They  are  marvelously  inter- 
esting creatures.  For  a  quarter  of  a  century,  now, 
the  several  colonial  governments  have  housed  their 
remnants  in  comfortable  stations,  and  fed  them  well 
and  taken  good  care  of  them  in  every  way.  If  I  had 
found  this  out  while  I  was  in  Australia  I  could  have 
seen  some  of  those  people — but  I  didn't.  I  would 
walk  thirty  miles  to  see  a  stuffed  one. 

Australia  has  a  slang  of  its  own.  This  is  a  matter 
of  cotirse.  The  vast  cattle  and  sheep  industries, 
the  strange  aspects  of  the  coimtry,  and  the  strange 
native  animals,  brute  and  himian,  are  matters  which 
would  naturally  breed  a  local  slang.  I  have  notes  of 
this  slang  somewhere,  but  at  the  moment  I  can  call 
to  mind  only  a  few  of  the  words  and  phrases.  They 
are  expressive  ones.  The  wide,  sterile,  impeopled 
deserts  have  created  eloquent  phrases  like  "No 
Man's  Land"  and  the  "Never-never  Country" — ■ 
also  this  felicitous  form:  "She  lives  in  the  Never- 
never  Cotmtry" — that  is,  she  is  an  old  maid.  And 
this  one  is  not  without  merit:  "heifer-paddock" — 
young  ladies'  seminary.  ' '  Bail  up ' '  and  ' '  stick  up '  * — 
equivalent  of  our  highwayman-term  to  "hold  up" 
a  stage-coach  or  a  train.  "New-chum"  is  the 
equivalent  of  our  "tenderfoot" — new  arrival. 

And  then  there  is  the  immortal  "My  word!*' 
We  must  import  it.    "M-y  word!''    In  cold  print  it 

20I 


MARK     TWAIN 

is  the  equivalent  of  our  "Ger-rea^  CcBsar!"  but  spoken 
with  the  proper  Australian  unction  and  fervency,  it 
is  worth  six  of  it  for  grace  and  charm  and  expressive- 
ness. Our  form  is  rude  and  explosive;  it  is  not 
suited  to  the  drawing-room  or  the  heifer-paddock; 
but  "M-y  word!''  is,  and  is  music  to  the  ear,  too, 
when  the  utterer  knows  how  to  say  it.  I  saw  it  in 
print  several  times  on  the  Pacific  Ocean,  but  it 
struck  me  coldly,  it  aroused  no  sympathy.  That 
was  because  it  was  the  dead  corpse  of  the  thing, 
the  soul  was  not  there — the  tones  were  lacking — 
the  informing  spirit — the  deep  feeling — the  eloquence. 
But  the  first  time  I  heard  an  Australian  say  it,  it 
was  positively  thrilling. 


CHAPTER  XXin 

THE  DRIEST  COUNTRY  IN  THE  WORLD 

Be  careless  In  your  dress  If  you  must,  but  keep  a  tidy  soul. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

WE  left  Adelaide  in  due  course,  and  went  to 
Horsham,  in  the  colony  of  Victoria;  a  good 
deal  of  a  journey,  if  I  remember  rightly,  but  pleasant. 
Horsham  sits  in  a  plain  which  is  as  level  as  a  floor — 
one  of  those  famous  dead  levels  which  Australian 
books  describe  so  often;  gray,  bare,  somber,  melan- 
choly, baked,  cracked,  in  the  tedious  long  droughts, 
but  a  horizonless  ocean  of  vivid  green  grass  the 
day  after  a  rain.  A  country-town,  peaceful,  repose- 
ful, inviting,  full  of  snug  homes,  with  garden-plots, 
and  plenty  of  shrubbery  and  flowers. 

"Horsham,  October  17.  At  the  hotel.  The  weather 
divine.  Across  the  way,  in  front  of  the  London 
Bank  of  Australia,  is  a  very  handsome  cottonwood. 
It  is  in  opulent  leaf,  and  every  leaf  perfect.  The 
full  power  of  the  on-rushing  spring  is  upon  it,  and 
I  imagine  I  can  see  it  grow.  Alongside  the  bank 
and  a  little  way  back  in  the  garden  there  is  a  row 
of  soaring  fountain-sprays  of  delicate  feathery  foliage 
quivering  in  the  breeze,  and  mottled  with  flashes  of 
light  that  shift  and  play  through  the  mass  like 
flashlights  through  an  opal  —  a  most  beautiful  tree, 
and  a  striking  contrast  to  the  cottonwood.     Every 

203 


MARK     TWAIN 

leaf  of  the  cottonwood  is  distinctly  defined — it  is 
a  kodak  for  faithful,  hard,  unsentimental  detail; 
the  other  an  impressionist  picture,  delicious  to  look 
upon,  full  of  a  subtle  and  exquisite  charm,  but  aU 
details  fused  in  a  swoon  of  vague  and  soft  loveliness." 

It  turned  out,  upon  inquiry,  to  be  a  pepper  tree 
— ^an  importation  from  China.  It  has  a  silky  sheen, 
soft  and  rich.  I  saw  some  that  had  long  red  bunches 
of  currantlike  berries  ambushed  among  the  foliage. 
At  a  distance,  in  certain  lights,  they  give  the  tree  a 
pinkish  tint  and  a  new  charm. 

There  is  an  agricultural  college  eight  miles  from 
Horsham.  We  were  driven  out  to  it  by  its  chief. 
The  conveyance  was  an  open  wagon;  the  time, 
noonday;  no  wind;  the  sky  without  a  cloud,  the 
sunshine  brilliant — and  the  mercury  at  ninety-two 
degrees  in  the  shade.  In  some  countries  an  indolent 
unsheltered  drive  of  an  hour  and  a  half  under  such 
conditions  would  have  been  a  sweltering  and  pros- 
trating experience ;  but  there  was  nothing  of  that  in 
this  case.  It  is  a  climate  that  is  perfect.  There 
was  no  sense  of  heat;  indeed,  there  was  no  heat; 
the  air  was  fine  and  pure  and  exhilarating;  if  the 
drive  had  lasted  half  a  day  I  think  we  should  not 
have  felt  any  discomfort,  or  grown  silent  or  droopy 
or  tired.  Of  course,  the  secret  of  it  was  the  exceeding 
dryness  of  the  atmosphere.  In  that  plain  one  hun- 
dred and  twelve  degrees  in  the  shade  is  without  doubt 
no  harder  upon  a  man  than  is  eighty-eight  degrees  or 
ninety  degrees  in  New  York. 

The  road  lay  through  the  middle  of  an  empty  space 
which  seemed  to  me  to  be  a  hundred  yards  wide  be- 

204 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

tween  the  fences.  I  was  not  given  the  width  in  yards, 
but  only  in  chains  and  perches — and  furlongs,  I 
think.  I  would  have  given  a  good  deal  to  know 
what  the  width  was,  but  I  did  not  pursue  the  matter. 
I  think  it  is  best  to  put  up  with  information  the 
way  you  get  it;  and  seem  satisfied  with  it,  and 
surprised  at  it,  and  grateful  for  it,  and  say,  "My 
word!"  and  never  let  on.  It  was  a  wide  space;  I 
could  tell  you  how  wide,  in  chains  and  perches  and 
furlongs  and  things,  but  that  would  not  help  you 
any.  Those  things  sound  well,  but  they  are  shadowy 
and  indefinite,  like  troy  weight  and  avoirdupois; 
nobody  knows  what  they  mean.  When  you  buy  a 
pound  of  a  drug  and  the  man  asks  you  which  you 
want,  troy  or  avoirdupois,  it  is  best  to  say  **Yes," 
and  shift  the  subject. 

They  said  that  the  wide  space  dates  from  the 
earliest  sheep  and  cattle  raising  days.  People  had 
to  drive  their  stock  long  distances — immense  jour- 
neys— ^from  worn-out  places  to  new  ones  where  were 
water  and  fresh  pasturage;  and  this  wide  space  had 
to  be  left  in  grass  and  unfenced,  or  the  stock  would 
have  starved  to  death  in  the  transit. 

On  the  way  we  saw  the  usual  birds — the  beautiful 
little  green  parrots,  the  magpie,  and  some  others; 
and  also  the  slender  native  bird  of  modest  plumage 
and  the  eternally  forgettable  name — the  bird  that  is 
the  smartest  among  birds,  and  can  give  a  parrot 
thirty  to  one  in  the  game  and  then  talk  him  to  death. 
I  cannot  recall  that  bird's  name.  I  think  it  begins 
with  M.  I  wish  it  began  with  G,  or  something  that 
a  person  can  remember. 

20S 


MARK     TWAIN 

The  magpie  was  out  in  great  force,  in  the  fields 
and  on  the  fences.  He  is  a  handsome  large  creature, 
with  snowy  white  decorations,  and  is  a  singer;  he  has 
a  murmurous  rich  note  that  is  lovely.  He  was  once 
modest,  even  diffident;  but  he  lost  all  that  when  he 
found  out  that  he  was  Australia's  sole  musical  bird. 
He  has  talent,  and  cuteness,  and  impudence;  and  in 
his  tame  state  he  is  a  most  satisfactory  pet — never 
coming  when  he  is  called,  always  coming  when  he 
isn't,  and  studying  disobedience  as  an  accompHsh- 
ment.  He  is  not  confined,  but  loafs  all  over  the 
house  and  grounds,  like  the  laughing  jackass.  I 
think  he  learns  to  talk,  I  know  he  learns  to  sing 
times,  and  his  friends  say  that  he  knows  how  to  steal 
without  learning.  I  was  acquainted  with  a  tame 
magpie  in  Melbourne.  He  had  lived  in  a  lady's 
house  several  years,  and  believed  he  owned  it.  The 
lady  had  tamed  him,  and  in  return  he  had  tamed  the 
lady.  He  was  always  on  deck  when  not  wanted, 
always  having  his  own  way,  always  tyrannizing  over 
the  dog,  and  always  making  the  cat's  life  a  slow  sor- 
row and  a  martyrdom.  He  knew  a  number  of  tunes 
and  could  sing  them  in  perfect  time  and  tune;  and 
would  do  it,  too,  at  any  time  that  silence  was  wanted; 
and  then  encore  himself  and  do  it  again;  but  if  he 
was  asked  to  sing  he  would  go  out  and  take  a  walk. 

It  was  long  believed  that  fruit  trees  would  not 
grow  in  that  baked  and  waterless  plain  around 
Horsham,  but  the  agricultural  college  has  dissipated 
that  idea.  Its  ample  nurseries  were  producing 
oranges,  apricots,  lemons,  almonds,  peaches,  cherries, 
forty-eight  varieties  of  apples — in  fact,  all  manner  of 

206 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

fruits,  and  in  abundance.  The  trees  did  not  seem 
to  miss  the  water;  they  were  in  vigorous  and  flour- 
ishing condition. 

Experiments  are  made  with  different  soils,  to  see 
what  things  thrive  best  in  them  and  what  cHmates 
are  best  for  them.  A  man  who  is  ignorantly  trying 
to  produce  upon  his  farm  things  not  suited  to  its  soil 
and  its  other  conditions  can  make  a  journey  to  the 
college  from  anywhere  in  Australia,  and  go  back 
with  a  change  of  scheme  which  will  make  his  farm 
productive  and  profitable. 

There  were  forty  pupils  there — a  few  of  them 
farmers,  relearning  their  trade,  the  rest  yoimg  men 
mainly  from  the  cities — novices.  It  seemed  a  strange 
thing  that  an  agricultural  college  should  have  an 
attraction  for  city-bred  youths,  but  such  is  the  fact. 
They  are  good  stuff,  too;  they  are  above  the  agri- 
cultural average  of  intelligence,  and  they  come 
without  any  inherited  prejudices  in  favor  of  hoary 
ignorances  made  sacred  by  long  descent. 

The  students  work  all  day  in  the  fields,  the  nur- 
series, and  the  shearing-sheds,  learning  and  doing  all 
the  practical  work  of  the  business — three  days  in  a 
week.  On  the  other  three  they  study  and  hear 
lectures.  They  are  taught  the  beginnings  of  such 
sciences  as  bear  upon  agriculture — like  chemistry, 
for  instance.  We  saw  the  sophomore  class  in  sheep- 
shearing  shear  a  dozen  sheep.  They  did  it  by  hand, 
not  with  a  machine.  The  sheep  was  seized  and 
flung  down  on  his  side  and  held  there;  and  the 
students  took  off  his  coat  with  great  celerity  and 
adroitness.     Sometimes  they  clipped  off  a  sample  of 

207 


MARK     TWAIN 

the  sheep,  but  that  is  customary  with  shearers,  and 
they  don't  mind  it;  they  don't  even  mind  it  as  much 
as  the  sheep.  They  dab  a  splotch  of  sheep-dip  on 
the  place  and  go  right  ahead. 

The  coat  of  wool  was  unbelievably  thick.  Before 
the  shearing  the  sheep  looked  like  the  fat  woman  in 
the  circus ;  after  it  he  looked  like  a  bench.  He  was 
cHpped  to  the  skin;  and  smoothly  and  uniformly. 
The  fleece  comes  from  him  all  in  one  piece  and  has 
the  spread  of  a  blanket. 

The  college  was  flying  the  Australian  flag — the 
gridiron  of  England  smuggled  up  in  the  northwest 
comer  of  a  big  red  field  that  had  the  random  stars  of 
the  Southern  Cross  wandering  aroiuid  over  it. 

From  Horsham  we  went  to  Stawell.  By  rail.  Still 
in  the  colony  of  Victoria.  Stawell  is  in  the  gold- 
mining  country.  In  the  bank-safe  was  half  a  peck 
of  surface  gold — gold  dust,  grain  gold;  rich;  pure 
in  fact,  and  pleasant  to  sift  through  one's  fingers; 
and  wotdd  be  pleasanter  if  it  would  stick.  And 
there  were  a  couple  of  gold  bricks,  very  heavy  to 
handle,  and  worth  seventy-five  himdred  dollars 
apiece.  They  were  from  a  very  valuable  quartz- 
mine;  a  lady  owns  two-thirds  of  it ;  she  has  an  income 
of  seventy-five  thousand  dollars  a  month  from  it, 
and  is  able  to  keep  house. 

The  Stawell  region  is  not  productive  of  gold  only; 
it  has  great  vineyards,  and  produces  exceptionally 
fine  wines.  One  of  these  vineyards — the  Great 
Western,  owned  by  Mr.  Irving — ^is  regarded  as  a 
model.  Its  product  has  reputation  abroad.  It 
yields  a  choice  champagne  and  a  fine  claret,  and  its 

208 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

hock  took  a  prize  in  France  two  or  three  years  ago. 
The  champagne  is  kept  in  a  maze  of  passages  tmder- 
ground,  cut  in  the  rock,  to  secure  it  an  even  tempera- 
ture during  the  three-year  term  required  to  perfect 
it.  In  those  vaults  I  saw  120,000  bottles  of  cham- 
pagne. The  colony  of  Victoria  has  a  population  of 
1,000,000,  and  those  people  are  said  to  drink 
25,000,000  bottles  of  champagne  per  year.  The 
driest  community  on  the  earth.  The  government 
has  lately  reduced  the  duty  upon  foreign  wines. 
That  is  one  of  the  imkindnesses  of  Protection.  A 
man  invests  years  of  work  and  a  vast  sxmi  of  money 
in  a  worthy  enterprise,  upon  the  faith  of  existing 
laws;  then  the  law  is  changed,  and  the  man  is  robbed 
by  his  own  government. 

On  the  way  back  to  Stawell  we  had  a  chance  to 
see  a  group  of  boulders  called  the  Three  Sisters — a 
curiosity  oddly  located ;  for  it  was  upon  high  groimd, 
with  the  land  sloping  away  from  it,  and  no  height 
above  it  from  whence  the  boulders  could  have  rolled 
down.  Relics  of  an  early  ice-drift,  perhaps.  They 
are  noble  boulders.  One  of  them  has  the  size  and 
smoothness  and  plump  sphericity  of  a  balloon  of  the 
biggest  pattern.  The  road  led  through  a  forest  of 
great  gum  trees,  lean  and  scraggy  and  sorrowful. 
The  road  was  cream- white — a  clayey  kind  of  earth, 
apparently. 

Along  it  toiled  occasional  freight -wagons,  drawn 
by  long  double  files  of  oxen.  Those  wagons  were 
going  a  journey  of  two  hundred  miles,  I  was  told,  and 
were  running  a  successful  opposition  to  the  railway ! 
The  railways  are  owned  and  run  by  the  government. 

209 


MARK     TWAIN 

Those  sad  gums  stood  up  out  of  the  dry  white 
clay,  pictures  of  patience  and  resignation.  It  is  a 
tree  that  can  get  along  mthout  water ;  still  it  is  fond 
of  it — ravenously  so.  It  is  a  very  intelligent  tree 
and  will  detect  the  presence  of  hidden  water  at  a 
distance  of  fifty  feet,  and  send  out  slender  long 
root-fibers  to  prospect  it.  They  will  find  it;  and 
will  also  get  at  it — even  through  a  cement  wall  six 
inches  thick.  Once  a  cement  water-pipe  imder- 
groimd  at  Stawell  began  to  gradually  reduce  its  out- 
put, and  finally  ceased  altogether  to  deHver  water. 
Upon  examining  into  the  matter  it  was  found  stopped 
up,  wadded  compactly  with  a  mass  of  root  fibers, 
deHcate  and  hairlike.  How  this  stuff  had  gotten 
into  the  pipe  was  a  puzzle  for  some  little  time; 
finally  it  was  foimd  that  it  had  crept  in  through  a 
crack  that  was  almost  invisible  to  the  eye.  A  gum 
tree  forty  feet  away  had  tapped  the  pipe  and  was 
drinking  the  water. 


CHAPTER  XXIV 

BALLARAT  ENGLISH  UKDEFILED 

There  is  no  such  thing  as  "the  Queen's  English."     The  property  has  gone  into 
the  hands  of  a  joint  stock  company  and  we  own  the  btilk  of  the  shares! 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

FREQUENTLY, in  Australia,  one  has  cloud-effects 
of  an  unfamiliar  sort.  We  had  this  kind  of  sce- 
nery, finely  staged,  all  the  way  to  Ballarat.  Con- 
sequently we  saw  more  sky  than  country  on  that 
journey.  At  one  time  a  great  stretch  of  the  vault 
was  densely  flecked  with  wee  ragged-edged  flakes  of 
painfully  white  cloud-stuff,  all  of  one  shape  and  size, 
and  equidistant  apart,  with  narrow  cracks  of  adorable 
blue  showing  between.  The  whole  was  suggestive  of 
a  hurricane  of  snowflakes  drifting  across  the  skies. 
By  and  by  these  flakes  fused  themselves  together  in 
interminable  lines,  with  shady  faint  hollows  between 
the  lines,  the  long  satin-surfaced  rollers  following 
each  other  in  simulated  movement,  and  enchant- 
ingly  counterfeiting  the  majestic  march  of  a  flowing 
sea.  Later,  the  sea  solidified  itself;  then  gradually 
broke  up  its  mass  into  innumerable  lofty  white  pillars 
of  about  one  size,  and  ranged  these  across  the  firma- 
ment, in  receding  and  fading  perspective,  in  the  si- 
militude of  a  stupendous  colonnade  —  a  mirage 
without  a  doubt  flung  from  the  far  Gates  of  the 
Hereafter. 

The  approaches  to  Ballarat  were  beautiful.     The 

211 


MARK     TWAIN 

features,  great  green  expanses  of  rolling  pasture- 
land,  bisected  by  eye-contenting  hedges  of  commin- 
gled new-gold  and  old-gold  gorse — and  a  lovely  lake. 
One  must  put  in  the  pause,  there,  to  fetch  the  reader 
up  with  a  slight  jolt,  and  keep  him  from  gliding  by 
without  noticing  the  lake.  One  must  notice  it;  for 
a  lovely  lake  is  not  as  common  a  thing  along  the 
railways  of  Australia  as  are  the  dry  places.  Ninety- 
two  in  the  shade  again,  but  balmy  and  comfortable, 
fresh  and  bracing.     A  perfect  climate. 

Forty -five  years  ago  the  site  now  occupied  by  the 
city  of  Ballarat  was  a  sylvan  solitude  as  quiet  as 
Eden  and  as  lovely.  Nobody  had  ever  heard  of  it. 
On  the  25th  of  August,  1851,  the  first  great  gold- 
strike  made  in  Australia  was  made  here.  The  wan- 
dering prospectors  who  made  it  scraped  up  two 
poimds  and  a  half  of  gold  the  first  day — worth  six 
hundred  dollars.  A  few  days  later  the  place  was  a 
hive — a  town.  The  news  of  the  strike  spread  every- 
where in  a  sort  of  instantaneous  way — spread  like  a 
flash  to  the  very  ends  of  the  earth.  A  celebrity  so 
prompt  and  so  universal  has  hardly  been  paralleled 
in  history,  perhaps.  It  was  as  if  the  name  BAL- 
LARAT had  suddenly  been  written  on  the  sky, 
where  all  the  world  could  read  it  at  once. 

The  smaller  discoveries  made  in  the  colony  of  New 
South  Wales  three  months  before  had  already  started 
emigrants  toward  Australia;  they  had  been  coming 
as  a  stream,  but  they  came  as  a  flood,  now.  A 
hundred  thousand  people  poiu-ed  into  Melbourne 
from  England  and  other  countries  in  a  single  month, 
and  flocked  away  to  the  mines.     The  crews  of  the 

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FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

ships  that  brought  them  flocked  with  them;  the 
clerks  in  the  government  offices  followed ;  so  did  the 
cooks,  the  maids,  the  coachmen,  the  butlers,  and 
the  other  domestic  servants;  so  did  the  carpenters, 
the  smiths,  the  plimibers,  the  painters,  the  reporters, 
the  editors,  the  lawyers,  the  clients,  the  barkeepers, 
the  biunmers,  the  blacldegs,  the  thieves,  the  loose 
women,  the  grocers,  the  butchers,  the  bakers,  the 
doctors,  the  druggists,  the  nurses;  so  did  the  police; 
even  officials  of  high  and  hitherto  envied  place  threw 
up  their  positions  and  joined  the  procession.  This 
roaring  avalanche  swept  out  of  Melbourne  and  left  it 
desolate,  Sunday-like,  paralyzed,  everything  at  a 
standstill,  the  ships  lying  idle  at  anchor,  all  signs  of 
life  departed,  all  soimds  stilled  save  the  rasping  of 
the  cloud-shadows  as  they  scraped  across  the  vacant 
streets. 

That  grassy  and  leafy  paradise  at  Ballarat  was  soon 
ripped  open,  and  lacerated  and  scarified  and  gutted, 
in  the  feverish  search  for  its  hidden  riches.  There 
is  nothing  like  surface-mining  to  snatch  the  graces 
and  beauties  and  benignities  out  of  a  paradise,  and 
make  an  odious  and  repulsive  spectacle  of  it. 

What  fortimes  were  made!  Immigrants  got  rich 
while  the  ship  unloaded  and  reloaded — and  went 
back  home  for  good  in  the  same  cabin  they  had 
come  out  in!  Not  all  of  them.  Only  some.  I  saw 
the  others  in  Ballarat  myself,  forty-five  years  later 
— what  were  left  of  them  by  time  and  death  and  the 
disposition  to  rove.  They  were  yoimg  and  gay,  then; 
they  are  patriarchal  and  grave,  now;  and  they  do 
not  get  excited  any  more.     They  talk  of  the  Past. 

213 


MARK     TWAIN 

They  live  in  it.  Their  life  is  a  dream,  a  retro- 
spection. 

Ballarat  was  a  great  region  for  "nuggets."  No 
such  nuggets  were  found  in  California  as  Ballarat 
produced.  In  fact,  the  Ballarat  region  has  yielded 
the  largest  ones  known  to  history.  Two  of  them 
weighed  about  one  hundred  and  eighty  pounds  each, 
and  together  were  worth  ninety  thousand  dollars. 
They  were  offered  to  any  poor  person  who  would 
shoulder  them  and  carry  them  away.  Gold  was  so 
plentiful  that  it  made  people  liberal  like  that. 

Ballarat  was  a  swarming  city  of  tents  in  the  early 
days.  Everybody  was  happy,  for  a  time,  and  appar- 
ently prosperous.  Then  came  trouble.  The  govern- 
ment swooped  down  with  a  mining  tax.  And  in  its 
worst  form,  too;  for  it  was  not  a  tax  upon  what  the 
miner  had  taken  out,  but  upon  what  he  was  going 
to  take  out — if  he  could  find  it.  It  was  a  license 
tax — Hcense  to  work  his  claim — and  it  had  to  be 
paid  before  he  could  begin  digging. 

Consider  the  situation.  No  business  is  so  imcer- 
tain  as  surface-mining.  Your  claim  may  be  good, 
and  it  may  be  worthless.  It  may  make  you  well  off 
in  a  month;  and  then  again  you  may  have  to  dig 
and  slave  for  half  a  year,  at  heavy  expense,  only  to 
find  out  at  last  that  the  gold  is  not  there  in  cost-pay- 
ing quantity,  and  that  your  time  and  your  hard  work 
have  been  thrown  away.  It  might  be  wise  policy  to 
advance  the  miner  a  monthly  sum  to  encourage  him 
to  develop  the  coimtry's  riches;  but  to  tax  him 
monthly  in  advance  instead — why,  such  a  thing  was 
never  dreamed  of  in  America.     There,  neither  the 

214 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

claim  itself  nor  its  products,  howsoever  rich  or  poor, 
were  taxed. 

The  Ballarat  miners  protested,  petitioned,  com- 
plained— it  was  of  no  use;  the  government  held  its 
groimd,  and  went  on  collecting  the  tax.  And  not 
by  pleasant  methods,  but  by  ways  which  must  have 
been  very  galling  to  free  people.  The  rumblings  of 
a  coming  storm  began  to  be  audible. 

By  and  by  there  was  a  result ;  and  I  think  it  may 
be  called  the  finest  thing  in  Australasian  history.  It 
was  a  revolution — small  in  size,  but  great  politically ; 
it  was  a  strike  for  liberty,  a  struggle  for  a  principle, 
a  stand  against  injustice  and  oppression.  It  was  the 
Barons  and  John,  over  again;  it  was  Hampden  and 
Ship-Money;  it  was  Concord  and  Lexington;  small 
beginnings,  all  of  them,  but  all  of  them  great  in 
political  results,  all  of  them  epoch-making.  It  is 
another  instance  of  a  victory  won  by  a  lost  battle. 
It  adds  an  honorable  page  to  history;  the  people 
know  it  and  are  proud  of  it.  They  keep  green  the 
memory  of  the  men  who  fell  at  the  Eureka  Stockade, 
and  Peter  Lalor  has  his  monument. 

The  surface-soil  of  Ballarat  was  full  of  gold. 
This  soil  the  miners  ripped  and  tore  and  trenched 
and  harried  and  disemboweled,  and  made  it  yield  up 
its  immense  treasure.  Then  they  went  down  into 
the  earth  with  deep  shafts,  seeking  the  gravelly  beds 
of  ancient  rivers  and  brooks — and  found  them.  They 
followed  the  courses  of  these  streams,  and  gutted 
them,  sending  the  gravel  up  in  buckets  to  the  upper 
world,  and  washing  out  of  it  its  enormous  deposits 
of  gold.     The  next  biggest  of  the  two  monster  nug- 

215 


MARK     TWAIN 

gets  mentioned  above  came  from  an  old  river- 
channel  one  hundred  and  eighty  feet  under  ground. 

Finally  the  quartz  lodes  were  attacked.  That  is 
not  poor  man's  mining.  Quartz  mining  and  milling 
require  capital,  and  staying-power,  and  patience. 
Big  companies  were  formed,  and  for  several  decades, 
now,  the  lodes  have  been  successfully  worked,  and 
have  yielded  great  wealth.  Since  the  gold  discovery 
in  185 1  the  Ballarat  mines — taking  the  three  kinds 
of  mining  together — have  contributed  to  the  world's 
pocket  something  over  three  hundred  millions  of  dol- 
lars, which  is  to  say  that  this  nearly  invisible  little 
spot  on  the  earth's  surface  has  yielded  about  one- 
fourth  as  much  gold  in  forty-four  years  as  all  Cali- 
fornia has  yielded  in  forty-seven.  The  Calif omian 
aggregate,  from  1848  to  1895,  inclusive,  as  reported 
by  the  Statistician  of  the  United  States  Mint,  is 
$1,265,217,217. 

A  citizen  told  me  a  curious  thing  about  those 
mines.  With  all  my  experience  of  mining  I  had 
never  heard  of  anything  of  the  sort  before.  The 
main  gold  reef  runs  about  north  and  south — of 
course — for  that  is  the  custom  of  a  rich  gold  reef. 
At  Ballarat  its  course  is  between  walls  of  slate. 
Now  the  citizen  told  me  that  throughout  a  stretch 
of  twelve  miles  along  the  reef,  the  reef  is  crossed  at 
intervals  by  a  straight  black  streak  of  a  carbona- 
ceous nature — a  streak  in  the  slate;  a  streak  no 
thicker  than  a  pencil — and  that  wherever  it  crosses 
the  reef  you  will  certainly  find  gold  at  the  jimction. 
It  is  called  the  Indicator.  Thirty  feet  on  each  side 
of  the  Indicator  (and  down  in  the  slate,  of  course)  is 

216 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

a  still  finer  streak — a  streak  as  fine  as  a  pencil-mark; 
and  indeed,  that  is  its  name — Pencil  Mark.  When- 
ever you  find  the  Pencil  Mark  you  know  that  thirty 
feet  from  it  is  the  Indicator;  you  measure  the  dis- 
tance, excavate,  find  the  Indicator,  trace  it  straight 
to  the  reef,  and  sink  your  shaft;  your  fortune  is 
made,  for  certain.  If  that  is  true,  it  is  curious.  And 
it  is  curious  anyway. 

Ballarat  is  a  town  of  only  forty  thousand  poptda- 
tion;  and  yet,  since  it  is  in  Australia,  it  has  every 
essential  of  an  advanced  and  enlightened  big  city. 
This  is  pure  matter  of  course.  I  must  stop  dwelling 
upon  these  things.  It  is  hard  to  keep  from  dwelling 
upon  them,  though ;  for  it  is  difficult  to  get  away  from 
the  surprise  of  it.  I  will  let  the  other  details  go, 
this  time,  but  I  must  allow  myself  to  mention  that 
this  little  town  has  a  park  of  three  hundred  and 
twenty-six  acres;  a  flower-garden  of  eighty-three 
acres,  with  an  elaborate  and  expensive  fernery  in 
it  and  some  costly  and  imusually  fine  statuary;  and 
an  artificial  lake  covering  six  hundred  acres,  equipped 
with  a  fleet  of  two  hundred  shells,  small  sailboats, 
and  little  steam-yachts. 

At  this  point  I  strike  out  some  other  praiseful 
things  which  I  was  tempted  to  add.  I  do  not  strike 
them  out  because  they  were  not  true  or  not  well  said, 
but  because  I  find  them  better  said  by  another  man — 
and  a  man  more  competent  to  testify,  too,  because 
he  belongs  on  the  ground,  and  knows.  I  clip  them 
from  a  chatty  speech  delivered  some  years  ago  by 
Mr.  William  Little,  who  was  at  that  time  mayor 
of  Ballarat : 

217 


MARK    TWAIN 

The  language  of  our  citizens,  in  this  as  in  other  parts  of 
Australasia,  is  mostly  healthy  Anglo-Saxon,  free  from  American- 
isms, vulgarisms,  and  the  conflicting  dialects  of  our  Fatherland, 
and  is  pure  enough  to  suit  a  Trench  or  a  Latham.  Our  youth, 
aided  by  climatic  influence,  are  in  point  of  physique  and  comeli- 
ness unsurpassed  in  the  Sunny  South.  Our  young  men  are 
well  ordered;  and  our  maidens,  "not  stepping  over  the  bounds 
of  modesty,"  are  as  fair  as  Psyches,  dispensing  smiles  as  charming 
as  November  flowers. 

The  closing  clause  has  the  seeming  of  a  rather 
frosty  compliment,  but  that  is  apparent  only,  not 
real.  November  is  summer-time  there.  His  com- 
pliment to  the  local  purity  of  the  language  is  war- 
ranted. It  is  quite  free  from  impurities;  this  is 
acknowledged  far  and  wide.  As  in  the  German 
Empire  all  cultivated  people  claim  to  speak  Hano- 
verian German,  so  in  Australasia  all  cultivated  people 
claim  to  speak  Ballarat  English.  Even  in  England 
this  cult  has  made  considerable  progress,  and  now 
that  it  is  favored  by  the  two  great  Universities,  the 
time  is  not  far  away  when  Ballarat  English  will 
come  into  general  use  among  the  educated  classes  of 
Great  Britain  at  large.  Its  great  merit  is,  that  it  is 
shorter  than  ordinary  English — that  is,  it  is  more 
compressed.  At  first  you  have  some  difficulty  in 
understanding  it  when  it  is  spoken  as  rapidly  as  the 
orator  whom  I  have  quoted  speaks  it.  An  illustra- 
tion will  show  what  I  mean.  When  he  called  and 
I  handed  him  a  chair,  he  bowed  and  said : 

Presently,  when  we  were  lighting  our  cigars,  he 
held  a  match  to  mine  and  I  said: 
** Thank  you,"  and  he  said: 

218 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

"Km." 

Then  I  saw.  Q  is  the  end  of  the  phrase  "I  thank 
you."  Km  is  the  end  of  the  phrase  "You  are  wel- 
come." Mr.  Little  puts  no  emphasis  upon  either  of 
them,  but  delivers  them  so  reduced  that  they  hardly 
have  a  soimd.  All  Ballarat  EngHsh  is  like  that,  and 
the  effect  is  very  soft  and  pleasant;  it  takes  all  the 
hardness  and  harshness  out  of  our  tongue  and  gives 
to  it  a  delicate  whispery  and  vanishing  cadence  which 
charms  the  ear  like  the  faint  rustling  of  the  forest 
leaves. 


CHAPTER  XXV 

THE  AMAZING  MARK  TWAIN  CLUB 

"Classic."     A  b<x)k  which  people  praise  and  don't  read. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

ON  the  rail  again — bound  for  Bendigo.  From 
diary: 

October  2j.  Got  up  at  six,  left  at  seven-thirty; 
soon  reached  Castlemaine,  one  of  the  rich  gold-fields 
of  the  eariy  days;  waited  several  hours  for  a  train; 
left  at  three-forty  and  reached  Bendigo  in  an  hour. 
For  comrade,  a  Catholic  priest  who  was  better  than 
I  was,  but  didn't  seem  to  know  it — a  man  full  of 
graces  of  the  heart,  the  mind,  and  the  spirit;  a 
lovable  man.  He  will  rise.  He  will  be  a  Bishop 
some  day.  Later  an  Archbishop.  Later  a  Cardinal. 
Finally  an  Archangel,  I  hope.  And  then  he  will 
recall  me  when  I  say,  "Do  you  remember  that  trip 
we  made  from  Ballarat  to  Bendigo,  when  you  were 
nothing  but  Father  C,  and  I  was  nothing  to  what  I 
am  now?"  It  has  actually  taken  nine  hours  to 
come  from  Ballarat  to  Bendigo.  We  could  have 
saved  seven  by  walking.  However,  there  was  no 
hurry. 

Bendigo  was  another  of  the  rich  strikes  of  the 
early  days.  It  does  a  great  quartz-mining  business, 
now — that  business  which,  more  than  any  other 
that  I  know  of,  teaches  patience,  and  reqiiires  grit 

220 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  a  steady  nerve.  The  town  is  full  of  towering 
chimney-stacks  and  hoisting-works,  and  looks  like  a 
petroleum-city.  Speaking  of  patience ;  for  example, 
one  of  the  local  companies  went  steadily  on  with  its 
deep  borings  and  searchings  without  show  of  gold 
or  a  penny  of  reward  for  eleven  years — then  struck  it, 
and  became  suddenly  rich.  The  eleven  years'  work 
had  cost  fifty-five  thousand  dollars,  and  the  first 
gold  found  was  a  grain  the  size  of  a  pin's  head.  It 
is  kept  under  locks  and  bars,  as  a  precious  thing, 
and  is  reverently  shown  to  the  visitor,  "hats  off." 
When  I  saw  it  I  had  not  heard  its  history. 

"It  is  gold.  Examine  it — take  the  glass.  Now 
how  much  should  you  say  it  is  worth?" 

I  said: 

"I  should  say  about  two  cents;  or  in  your  English 
dialect,  four  farthings." 

"Well,  it  cost  eleven  thousand  pounds." 

"Oh,  come!" 

"Yes,  it  did.  Ballarat  and  Bendigo  have  pro- 
duced the  three  monumental  nuggets  of  the  world, 
and  this  one  is  the  monumentalest  one  of  the  three. 
The  other  two  represent  nine  thousand  pounds 
apiece;  this  one  a  couple  of  thousand  more.  It  is 
small,  and  not  much  to  look  at,  but  it  is  entitled  to 
its  name — Adam.  It  is  the  Adam-nugget  of  this 
mine,  and  its  children  run  up  into  the  millions." 

Speaking  of  patience  again,  another  of  the  mines 
was  worked,  under  heavy  expenses,  during  seventeen 
years  before  pay  was  struck,  and  still  another  one 
compelled  a  wait  of  twenty- one  years  before  pay 
was  struck;    then,    in   both   instances,  the  outlay 

221 


MARK     TWAIN 

was  all  back  in  a  year  or  two,  with  compound  in- 
terest. 

Bendigo  has  turned  out  even  more  gold  than 
Ballarat.  The  two  together  have  produced  six  hun- 
dred and  fifty  million  dollars'  worth — which  is  half 
as  much  as  California  produced. 

It  was  through  Mr.  Blank — not  to  go  into  par- 
ticulars about  his  name — it  was  mainly  through  Mr. 
Blank  that  my  stay  in  Bendigo  was  made  memorably 
pleasant  and  interesting.  He  explained  this  to  me 
himself.  He  told  me  that  it  was  through  his  influ- 
ence that  the  city  government  invited  me  to  the  town- 
hall  to  hear  complimentary  speeches  and  respond  to 
them;  that  it  was  through  his  influence  that  I  had 
been  taken  on  a  long  pleasure  drive  through  the  city 
and  shown  its  notable  features;  that  it  was  through 
his  influence  that  I  was  invited  to  visit  the  great 
mines;  that  it  was  through  his  influence  that  I  was 
taken  to  the  hospital  and  allowed  to  see  the  con- 
valescent Chinaman  who  had  been  attacked  at  mid- 
night in  his  lonely  hut  eight  weeks  before  by  robbers, 
and  stabbed  forty-six  times  and  scalped  besides; 
that  it  was  through  his  influence  that  when  I  arrived 
this  awful  spectacle  of  piecings  and  patchings  and 
bandagings  was  sitting  up  in  his  cot  letting  on  to 
read  one  of  my  books;  that  it  was  through  his 
influence  that  efforts  had  been  made  to  get  the 
Catholic  Archbishop  of  Bendigo  to  invite  me  to 
dinner;  that  it  was  through  his  influence  that  efforts 
had  been  made  to  get  the  Anglican  Bishop  of  Bendigo 
to  ask  me  to  supper ;  that  it  was  through  his  influence 
that  the  dean  of  the  editorial  fraternity  had  driven 

222 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

me  through  the  woodsy  outlying  country  and  shown 
me,  from  the  summit  of  Lone  Tree  Hill,  the  mightiest 
and  loveliest  expanse  of  forest-clad  mountain  and 
valley  that  I  had  seen  in  all  Australia.  And  when 
he  asked  me  what  had  most  impressed  me  in  Bendigo 
and  I  answered  and  said  it  was  the  taste  and  the 
public  spirit  which  had  adorned  the  streets  with 
one  hundred  and  five  miles  of  shade  trees,  he  said  that 
it  was  through  his  influence  that  it  had  been  done. 

But  I  am  not  representing  him  quite  correctly. 
He  did  not  say  it  was  through  his  influence  that  all 
these  things  had  happened — for  that  would  have 
been  coarse;  he  merely  conveyed  that  idea;  con- 
veyed it  so  subtly  that  I  only  caught  it  fleetingly,  as 
one  catches  vagrant  faint  breaths  of  perfume  when 
one  traverses  the  meadows  in  summer;  conveyed  it 
without  offense  and  without  any  suggestion  of  ego- 
ism or  ostentation — but  conveyed  it,  nevertheless. 

He  was  an  Irishman;  an  educated  gentleman; 
grave,  and  kindly,  and  courteous;  a  bachelor,  and 
about  forty -five  or  possibly  fifty  years  old,  appar- 
ently. He  called  upon  me  at  the  hotel,  and  it  was 
there  that  we  had  this  talk.  He  made  me  like  him, 
and  did  it  without  trouble.  This  was  partly  through 
his  winning  and  gentle  ways,  but  mainly  through 
the  amazing  familiarity  with  my  books  which  his 
conversation  showed.  He  was  down  to  date  with 
them,  too;  and  if  he  had  made  them  the  study  of 
his  life  he  could  hardly  have  been  better  posted  as 
to  their  contents  than  he  was.  He  made  me  better 
satisfied  with  myself  than  I  had  ever  been  before. 
It  was  plain  that  he  had  a  deep  fondness  for  humor, 

223 


MARK     TWAIN 

yet  he  never  laughed;  he  never  even  chuckled;  in 
fact,  humor  could  not  win  to  outward  expression  on 
his  face  at  all.  No,  he  was  always  grave, — tenderly, 
pensively  grave;  but  he  made  me  laugh,  all  along; 
and  this  was  very  trying — and  very  pleasant  at  the 
same  time — for  it  was  at  quotations  from  my  own 
books. 

When  he  was  going,  he  tinned  and  said: 

"You  don't  remember  me?" 

"I?    Why,  no.    Have  we  met  before?** 

*'No,  it  was  a  matter  of  correspondence." 

*  *  Correspondence  ?" 

*'Yes,  many  years  ago.  Twelve  or  fifteen.  Oh, 
longer  than  that.  But  of  course  you — "  A  musing 
pause.     Then  he  said : 

*'Do  you  remember  Corrigan  Castle?** 

*'N — no,  I  believe  I  don't.  I  don't  seem  to  recall 
the  name.** 

He  waited  a  moment,  pondering,  with  the  door- 
knob in  his  hand,  then  started  out ;  but  turned  back 
and  said  that  I  had  once  been  interested  in  Corrigan 
Castle,  and  asked  me  if  I  would  go  with  him  to  his 
quarters  in  the  evening  and  take  a  hot  Scotch  and 
talk  it  over.  I  was  a  teetotaler  and  liked  relaxation, 
so  I  said  I  would. 

We  drove  from  the  lecture-hall  together  about 
half  past  ten.  He  had  a  most  comfortably  and  taste- 
fully furnished  parlor,  with  good  pictures  on  the 
walls,  Indian  and  Japanese  ornaments  on  the  mantel, 
and  here  and  there,  and  books  everywhere — largely 
mine;  which  made  me  proud.  The  light  was  bril- 
liant,   the    easy -chairs    were    deep-cushioned,    the 

224 


FOLLOWING     THE    EQUATOR 

arrangements  for  brewing^  and  smoking  were  all 
there.  We  brewed  and  lit  up;  then  he  passed  a 
sheet  of  note-paper  to  me  and  said: 

*  *  Do  you  remember  that  ?" 

*'0h,  yes,  indeed!" 

The  paper  was  of  a  sumptuous  quality.  At  the  top 
was  a  twisted  and  interlaced  monogram  printed  from 
steel  dies  in  gold  and  blue  and  red,  in  the  ornate 
English  fashion  of  long  years  ago;  and  imder  it,  in 
neat  gothic  capitals,  was  this — printed  in  blue: 


The  Mark  Twain  Club 
corrigan  castle 


187 


*'My!*'  said  I,  "how  did  you  come  by  this?" 

*'I  was  President  of  it." 

*'No! — ^you  don't  mean  it." 

"It  is  true.  I  was  its  first  President.  I  was  re- 
elected annually  as  long  as  its  meetings  were  held  i« 
my  castle — Corrigan — ^which  was  five  years." 

Then  he  showed  me  an  albimi  with  twenty-three 
photographs  of  me  in  it.  Five  of  them  were  of  old 
dates,  the  others  of  various  later  crops ;  the  list  closed 
with  a  picture  taken  by  Falk  in  Sydney  a  month 
before. 

"You  sent  us  the  first  five;  the  rest  were  bought." 

This  was  paradise!  We  ran  late,  and  talked, 
talked,  talked — subject,  the  Mark  Twain  Club  of 
Corrigan  Castle,  Ireland. 

My  first  knowledge  of  that  Club  dates  away  back ; 
all  of  twenty  years,  I  should  say.  It  came  to  me  in 
the  form  of  a  courteous  letter,  written  on  the  note- 

225 


MARK     TWAIN 

paper  which  I  have  described,  and  signed  ' '  By  order 
of  the  President;  C.  Pembroke,  Secretary."  It 
conveyed  the  fact  that  the  Club  had  been  created 
in  my  honor,  and  added  the  hope  that  this  token  of 
appreciation  of  my  work  would  meet  with  my 
approval. 

I  answered,  with  thanks;  and  did  what  I  could  to 
keep  my  gratification  from  over-exposure. 

It  was  then  that  the  long  correspondence  began. 
A  letter  came  back,  by  order  of  the  President,  fur- 
nishing me  the  names  of  the  members — thirty-two 
in  number.  With  it  came  a  copy  of  the  Constitution 
and  By-Laws,  in  pamphlet  form,  and  artistically 
printed.  The  initiation  fee  and  dues  were  in  their 
proper  place ;  also,  schedule  of  meetings — monthly— 
for  essays  upon  works  of  mine,  followed  by  discus- 
sions; quarterly  for  business  and  a  supper,  without 
essays,  but  with  after-supper  speeches;  also  there 
was  a  list  of  the  officers:  President,  Vice-President, 
Secretary,  Treasurer,  etc.  The  letter  was  brief,  but 
it  was  pleasant  reading,  for  it  told  me  about  the 
strong  interest  which  the  membership  took  in  their 
new  ventm-e,  etc.,  etc.  It  also  asked  me  for  a  photo- 
graph— a  special  one.  I  went  down  and  sat  for  it 
and  sent  it — with  a  letter,  of  course. 

Presently  came  the  badge  of  the  Club,  and  very 
dainty  and  pretty  it  was;  and  very  artistic.  It  was 
a  frog  peeping  out  from  a  graceful  tangle  of  grass- 
sprays  and  rushes,  and  was  done  in  enamels  on  a 
gold  basis,  and  had  a  gold  pin  back  of  it.  After  I 
had  petted  it,  and  played  with  it,  and  caressed  it, 
and  enjoyed  it  a  couple  of  hours,  the  light  happened 

226 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

to  fall  upon  it  at  a  new  angle,  and  revealed  to  me  a 
cunning  new  detail ;  with  the  light  just  right,  certain 
delicate  shadings  of  the  grass-blades  and  rush-stems 
wove  themselves  into  a  monogram — mine !  You  can 
see  that  that  jewel  was  a  work  of  art.  And  when 
you  come  to  consider  the  intrinsic  value  of  it,  you 
must  concede  that  it  is  not  every  literary  club  that 
could  afford  a  badge  like  that.  It  was  easily  worth 
seventy-five  dollars,  in  the  opinion  of  Messrs.  Marcus 
and  Ward  of  New  York.  They  said  they  could  not 
duplicate  it  for  that  and  make  a  profit. 

By  this  time  the  Club  was  well  under  way;  and 
from  that  time  forth  its  secretary  kept  my  off -hours 
well  supplied  with  business.  He  reported  the  Club's 
discussions  of  my  books  with  laborious  fullness,  and 
did  his  work  with  great  spirit  and  ability.  As  a  rule, 
he  synopsized;  but  when  a  speech  was  especially 
brilliant,  he  short-handed  it  and  gave  me  the  best 
passages  from  it,  written  out.  There  were  five 
speakers  whom  he  particularly  favored  in  that  way: 
Palmer,  Forbes,  Naylor,  Norris,  and  Calder.  Palmer 
and  Forbes  could  never  get  through  a  speech  without 
attacking  each  other,  and  each  in  his  own  way  was 
formidably  effective — Palmer  in  virile  and  eloquent 
abuse,  Forbes  in  courtly  and  elegant  but  scalding 
satire.  I  could  always  tell  which  of  them  was  talking 
without  looking  for  his  name.  Naylor  had  a  polished 
style  and  a  happy  knack  at  felicitous  metaphor; 
Norris's  style  was  wholly  without  ornament,  but 
enviably  compact,  lucid,  and  strong.  But  after  all, 
Calder  was  the  gem.  He  never  spoke  when  sober, 
he  spoke  continuously  when  he  wasn't.     And  cer- 

227 


MARK     TWAIN 

tainly  they  were  the  drunkest  speeches  that  a  man 
ever  uttered.  They  were  full  of  good  things,  but 
so  incredibly  mixed  up  and  wandering  that  it  made 
one's  head  swim  to  follow  him.  They  were  not 
intended  to  be  funny,  but  they  were — funny  for  the 
very  gravity  which  the  speaker  put  into  his  flowing 
miracles  of  incongruity.  In  the  course  of  five  years 
I  came  to  know  the  styles  of  the  five  orators  as  well 
as  I  knew  the  style  of  any  speaker  in  my  own  club 
at  home. 

These  reports  came  every  month.  They  were 
written  on  foolscap,  six  himdred  words  to  the  page, 
and  usually  about  twenty-five  pages  in  a  report — a 
good  fifteen  thousand  words,  I  should  say — a  solid 
week's  work.  The  reports  were  absorbingly  enter- 
taining, long  as  they  were;  but,  imfortimately  for 
me,  they  did  not  come  alone.  They  were  always 
accompanied  by  a  lot  of  questions  about  passages 
and  purposes  in  my  books,  which  the  Club  wanted 
answered ;  and  additionally  accompanied  every  quar- 
ter by  the  Treasurer's  report,  and  the  Auditor's 
report,  and  the  Committee's  report,  and  the  Presi- 
dent's review,  and  my  opinion  of  these  was  always 
desired;  also  suggestions  for  the  good  of  the  Club 
if  any  occiured  to  me. 

By  and  by  I  came  to  dread  those  things;  and  this 
dread  grew  and  grew  and  grew;  grew  until  I  got  to 
anticipating  them  with  a  cold  horror.  For  I  was  an 
indolent  man,  and  not  fond  of  letter-writing,  and 
whenever  these  things  came  I  had  to  put  everything 
by  and  sit  down — for  my  own  peace  of  mind — and 
dig  and  dig  imtil  I  got  something  out  of  my  head 

228 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

which  would  answer  for  a  reply.  I  got  along  fairly 
well  the  first  year;  but  for  the  succeeding  four  years 
the  Mark  Twain  Club  of  Corrigan  Castle  was  my 
curse,  my  nightmare,  the  grief  and  misery  of  my 
life.  And  I  got  so,  so  sick  of  sitting  for  photo- 
graphs. I  sat  every  year  for  live  years,  trying  to 
satisfy  that  insatiable  organization.  Then  at  last  I 
rose  in  revolt.  I  could  endure  my  oppressions  no 
longer.  I  pulled  my  fortitude  together  and  tore  off 
my  chains,  and  was  a  free  man  again,  and  happy. 
From  that  day  I  burned  the  Secretary's  fat  envelopes 
the  moment  they  arrived,  and  by  and  by  they  ceased 
to  come. 

Well,  in  the  sociable  frankness  of  that  night  in 
Bendigo  I  brought  this  all  out  in  full  confession. 
Then  Mr.  Blank  came  out  in  the  same  frank  way, 
and  with  a  preliminary  word  of  gentle  apology  said 
that  he  was  the  Mark  Twain  Club,  and  the  only 
member  it  had  ever  had! 

Why,  it  was  matter  for  anger,  but  I  didn't  feel 
any.  He  said  he  never  had  to  work  for  a  living, 
and  that  by  the  time  he  was  thirty  life  had  become  a 
bore  and  a  weariness  to  him.  He  had  no  interests 
left;  they  had  paled  and  perished,  one  by  one,  and 
left  him  desolate.  He  had  begun  to  think  of  suicide. 
Then  all  of  a  sudden  he  thought  of  that  happy  idea 
of  starting  an  imaginary  club,  and  went  straightway 
to  work  at  it,  with  enthusiasm  and  love.  He  was 
charmed  with  it;  it  gave  him  something  to  do.  It 
elaborated  itself  on  his  hands;  it  became  twenty 
times  more  complex  and  formidable  than  was  his 
first  rude  draft  of  it.     Every  new  addition  to  his 

229 


MARK     TWAIN 

original  plan  which  cropped  up  in  his  mind  gave 
him  a  fresh  interest  and  a  new  pleasure.  He  de- 
signed the  Club  badge  himself,  and  worked  over  it, 
altering  and  improving  it,  a  number  of  days  and 
nights;  then  sent  to  London  and  had  it  made.  It 
was  the  only  one  that  was  made.  It  was  made  for 
me;  the  "rest  of  the  Club'*  went  without. 

He  invented  the  thirty-two  members  and  their 
names.  He  invented  the  five  favorite  speakers 
and  their  five  separate  styles.  He  invented  their 
speeches,  and  reported  them  himself.  He  would 
have  kept  that  Club  going  until  now,  if  I  hadn't 
deserted,  he  said.  He  said  he  worked  like  a  slave 
over  those  reports;  each  of  them  cost  him  from  a 
week  to  a  fortnight's  work,  and  the  work  gave  him 
pleasure  and  kept  him  alive  and  willing  to  be  alive. 
It  was  a  bitter  blow  to  him  when  the  Club  died. 

Finally,  there  wasn't  any  Corrigan  Castle.  He 
had  invented  that,  too. 

It  was  wonderful — ^the  whole  thing;  and  alto- 
gether the  most  ingenious  and  laborious  and  cheerful 
and  painstaking  practical  joke  I  have  ever  heard  of. 
And  I  liked  it;  liked  to  hear  him  tell  about  it;  yet 
I  have  been  a  hater  of  practical  jokes  from  as  long 
back  as  I  can  remember.     Finally  he  said: 

**Do  you  remember  a  note  from  Melbourne  four- 
teen or  fifteen  years  ago,  telling  about  your  lecture 
tour  in  Australia,  and  your  death  and  burial  in  Mel- 
bourne?— a  note  from  Henry  Bascom,  of  Bascom 
Hall,  Upper  Holywell,  Hants.'* 

"Yes." 

"I  wrote  it.'* 

230 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

^'M-y— word!" 

"Yes,  I  did  it.  I  don't  know  why.  I  just  took 
the  notion,  and  carried  it  out  without  stopping  to 
think.  It  was  wrong.  It  could  have  done  harm. 
I  was  always  sorry  about  it  afterward.  You  must 
forgive  me.  I  was  Mr.  Bascom's  guest  on  his 
yacht,  on  his  voyage  around  the  world.  He  often 
spoke  of  you,  and  of  the  pleasant  times  you  had 
had  together  in  his  home;  and  the  notion  took  me, 
there  in  Melbourne,  and  I  imitated  his  hand,  and 
wrote  the  letter." 

So  the  mystery  was  cleared  up,  after  so  many, 
many  years. 


CHAPTER  XXVI 

WHAT  NEW  ZEALAND  REALLY  IS 

There  are  people  who  can  do  all  fine  and  heroic  things  but  one:    keep  from 
telling  their  hajipinesses  to  the  unhappy. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

AFTER  visits  to  Maryborough  and  some  other 
L  AustraHan  towns,  we  presently  took  passage 
for  New  Zealand.  If  it  would  not  look  too  much 
like  showing  off,  I  would  tell  the  reader  where  New 
Zealand  is;  for  he  is  as  I  was:  he  thinks  he  knows. 
And  he  thinks  he  knows  where  Herzegovina  is;  and 
how  to  pronounce  pariah;  and  how  to  use  the  word 
unique  without  exposing  himself  to  the  derision  of 
the  dictionary.  But  in  truth,  he  knows  none  of  these 
things.  There  are  but  four  or  five  people  in  the 
world  who  possess  this  knowledge,  and  these  make 
their  living  out  of  it.  They  travel  from  place 
to  place,  visiting  literary  assemblages,  geographical 
societies,  and  seats  of  learning,  and  springing  sudden 
bets  that  these  people  do  not  know  these  things. 
Since  all  people  think  they  know  them,  they  are  an 
easy  prey  to  these  adventurers.  Or  rather  they 
were  an  easy  prey  until  the  law  interfered  three 
months  ago,  and  a  New  York  court  decided  that  this 
kind  of  gambling  is  illegal,  "because  it  traverses 
Article  IV,  Section  9,  of  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States,  which  forbids  betting  on  a  sure 
thing."     This   decision   was   rendered  by   the  full 

232 


FOLLOWING    THE    EQUATOR 

Bench  of  the  New  York  Supreme  Court,  after  a  test 
sprung  upon  the  court  by  counsel  for  the  prosecution, 
which  showed  that  none  of  the  nine  Judges  was 
able  to  answer  any  of  the  fotir  questions. 

All  people  think  that  New  Zealand  is  close  to 
Australia  or  Asia,  or  somewhere,  and  that  you  cross 
to  it  on  a  bridge.  But  that  is  not  so.  It  is  not 
close  to  anything,  but  lies  by  itself,  out  in  the  water. 
It  is  nearest  to  Australia,  but  still  not  near.  The 
gap  between  is  very  wide.  It  will  be  a  surprise 
to  the  reader,  as  it  was  to  me,  to  leam  that  the  dis- 
tance from  Australia  to  New  Zealand  is  really  twelve 
or  thirteen  himdred  miles,  and  that  there  is  no 
bridge.  I  learned  this  from  Professor  X.,  of  Yale 
University,  whom  I  met  in  the  steamer  on  the  great 
lakes  when  I  was  crossing  the  continent  to  sail  across 
the  Pacific.  I  asked  him  about  New  Zealand,  in 
order  to  make  conversation.  I  supposed  he  would 
generalize  a  little  without  compromising  himself, 
and  then  turn  the  subject  to  something  he  was 
acquainted  with,  and  my  object  would  then  be 
attained :  the  ice  would  be  broken,  and  we  could  go 
smoothly  on,  and  get  acquainted,  and  have  a  pleasant 
time.  But,  to  my  surprise,  he  was  not  only  not 
embarrassed  by  my  question,  but  seemed  to  welcome 
it,  and  to  take  a  distinct  interest  in  it.  He  began 
to  talk — fluently,  confidently,  comfortably:  and  as 
he  talked,  my  admiration  grew  and  grew ;  for  as  the 
subject  developed  under  his  hands,  I  saw  that  he 
not  only  knew  where  New  Zealand  was,  but  that  he 
was  minutely  famiHar  with  every  detail  of  its  history, 
politics,  religions,  and  commerce,  its  fauna,  flora, 

233 


MARK     TWAIN 

geology,  products,  and  climatic  peculiarities.  When 
he  was  done,  I  was  lost  in  wonder  and  admiration, 
and  said  to  myself,  he  knows  everything;  in  the 
domain  of  human  knowledge  he  is  king. 

I  wanted  to  see  him  do  more  miracles;  and  so, 
just  for  the  pleasure  of  hearing  him  answer,  I  asked 
him  about  Herzegovina,  and  pariah,  and  unique. 
But  he  began  to  generalize  then,  and  show  distress. 
I  saw  that  with  New  Zealand  gone,  he  was  a  Samson 
shorn  of  his  locks;  he  was  as  other  men.  This  was 
a  curious  and  interesting  mystery,  and  I  was  frank 
with  him,  and  asked  him  to  explain  it. 

He  tried  to  avoid  it  at  first ;  but  then  laughed  and 
said  that,  after  all,  the  matter  was  not  worth  conceal- 
ment, so  he  would  let  me  into  the  secret.  In  sub- 
stance, this  is  his  story : 

Last  autumn  I  was  at  work  one  morning  at  home,  when  a  card 
came  up — the  card  of  a  stranger.  Under  the  name  was  printed 
a  line  which  showed  that  this  visitor  was  Professor  of  Theological 
Engineering  in  Wellington  University,  New  Zealand.  I  was 
troubled — troubled,  I  mean,  by  the  shortness  of  the  notice. 
College  etiquette  required  that  he  be  at  once  invited  to  dinner 
by  some  member  of  the  Faculty — invited  to  dine  on  that  day — 
not  put  off  till  a  subsequent  day.  I  did  not  quite  know  what  to 
do.  College  etiquette  requires,  in  the  case  of  a  foreign  guest, 
that  the  dinner-talk  shall  begin  with  complimentary  references 
to  his  coimtry,  its  great  men,  its  services  to  civilization,  its  seats 
of  learning,  and  things  like  that;  and  of  course  the  host  is 
responsible,  and  must  either  begin  this  talk  himself  or  see  that 
it  is  done  by  some  one  else.  I  was  in  great  difficulty;  and  the 
more  I  searched  my  memory,  the  more  my  trouble  grew.  I 
found  that  I  knew  nothing  about  New  Zealand.  I  thought  I 
knew  where  it  was,  and  that  was  all.  I  had  an  impression  that 
it  was  close  to  AustraUa,  or  Asia,  or  somewhere,  and  that  one 
went  over  to  it  on  a  bridge.    This  might  turn  out  to  be  incorrect; 

234 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  even  if  correct,  it  would  not  furnish  matter  enough  for  the 
purpose  at  the  dinner,  and  I  should  expose  my  College  to  shame 
before  my  guest;  he  would  see  that  I,  a  member  of  the  Faculty 
of  the  first  University  in  America,  was  wholly  ignorant  of  his 
country,  and  he  would  go  away  and  tell  this,  and  laugh  at  it. 
The  thought  of  it  made  my  face  bum. 

I  sent  for  my  wife  and  told  her  how  I  was  situated,  and  asked 
for  her  help,  and  she  thought  of  a  thing  which  I  might  have 
thought  of  myself,  if  I  had  not  been  excited  and  worried.  She 
said  she  would  go  and  tell  the  visitor  that  I  was  out,  but  would 
be  in  in  a  few  minutes;  and  she  would  talk  and  keep  him  busy 
while  I  got  out  the  back  way  and  hurried  over  and  made  Pro- 
fessor Lawson  give  the  dinner.  For  Lawson  knew  everything 
and  could  meet  the  guest  in  a  creditable  way,  and  save  the 
reputation  of  the  University.  I  ran  to  Lawson,  but  was  dis- 
appointed. He  did  not  know  anything  about  New  Zealand. 
He  said  that  as  far  as  his  recollection  went  it  was  close  to  Aus- 
tralia, or  Asia,  or  somewhere,  and  you  go  over  to  it  on  a  bridge; 
but  that  was  all  he  knew.  It  was  too  bad.  Lawson  was  a 
perfect  encyclopedia  of  abstruse  learning;  but  now  in  this  hour 
of  our  need,  it  turned  out  that  he  did  not  know  any  useful  thing. 

We  consulted.  He  saw  that  the  reputation  of  the  University 
was  in  very  real  peril,  and  he  walked  the  floor  in  anxiety,  talking, 
and  trying  to  think  out  some  way  to  meet  the  difficulty.  Pres- 
ently, he  decided  that  we  must  try  the  rest  of  the  Faculty — 
some  of  them  might  know  about  New  Zealand.  So  we  went 
to  the  telephone  and  called  up  the  professor  of  astronomy  and 
asked  him,  and  he  said  that  all  he  knew  was,  that  it  was  close 
to  AustraUa,  or  Asia,  or  somewhere,  and  you  went  over  to  it  on — 

We  shut  him  off  and  called  up  the  professor  of  biology,  and  he 
said  that  all  he  knew  was  that  it  was  close  to  Aus — 

We  shut  him  off,  and  sat  down,  worried  and  disheartened,  to 
see  if  we  could  think  up  some  other  scheme.  We  shortly  hit 
upon  one  which  promised  well,  and  this  one  we  adopted,  and 
set  its  machinery  going  at  once.  It  was  this.  Lawson  must 
give  the  dinner.  The  Faculty  must  be  notified  by  telephone 
to  prepare.  We  must  all  get  to  work  diligently,  and  at  the  end 
of  eight  hours  and  a  half  we  must  come  to  dinner  acquainted 
with  New  Zealand;  at  least  well  enough  informed  to  appear 
without  discredit  before  this  native.  To  seem  properly  intelli- 
gent we  should  have  to  know  about  New  Zealand's  population, 

235 


MARK     TWAIN 

and  politics,  and  form  of  government,  and  commerce,  and  taxes, 
and  products,  and  ancient  history,  and  modem  history,  and 
varieties  of  religion,  and  nature  of  the  laws,  and  their  codification, 
and  amount  of  revenue,  and  whence  drawn,  and  methods  of 
collection,  and  percentage  of  loss,  and  character  of  climate, 
and — well,  a  lot  of  things  like  that;  we  must  suck  the  maps  and 
cyclopedias  dry.  And  while  we  posted  up  in  this  way,  the 
Faculty's  wives  must  flock  over,  one  after  the  other,  in  a  studiedly 
casual  way,  and  help  my  wife  keep  the  New-Zealander  quiet, 
and  not  let  him  get  out  and  come  interfering  with  our  studies. 
The  scheme  worked  admirably;  but  it  stopped  business,  stopped 
it  entirely. 

It  is  in  the  official  log-book  of  Yale,  to  be  read  and  wondered 
at  by  future  generations — the  account  of  the  Great  Blank  Day — 
the  memorable  Blank  Day — the  day  wherein  the  wheels  of  cul- 
ture were  stopped,  a  Sunday  silence  prevailed  all  about,  and  the 
whole  University  stood  still  while  the  Faculty  read  up  and 
qualified  itself  to  sit  at  meat,  without  shame,  in  the  presence  of 
the  Professor  of  Theological  Engineering  from  New  Zealand. 

WTien  we  assembled  at  the  dinner  we  were  miserably  tired  and 
worn — but  we  were  posted.  Yes,  it  is  fair  to  claim  that.  In 
fact,  erudition  is  a  pale  name  for  it.  New  Zealand  was  the  only 
subject;  and  it  was  just  beautiful  to  hear  us  ripple  it  out.  And 
with  such  an  air  of  unembarrassed  ease,  and  unostentatious 
familiarity  with  detail,  and  trained  and  seasoned  mastery  of 
the  subject — and  oh,  the  grace  and  fluency  of  it! 

Well,  finally  somebody  happened  to  notice  that  the  guest  was 
looking  dazed,  and  wasn't  saying  anything.  So  they  stirred 
him  up,  of  course.  Then  that  man  came  out  with  a  good,  honest, 
eloquent  compliment  that  made  the  Faculty  blush.  He  said 
he  was  not  w^orthy  to  sit  in  the  company  of  men  like  these; 
that  he  had  been  silent  from  admiration;  that  he  had  been  silent 
from  another  cause  also — silent  from  shame — silent  from 
ignorance!  "  For,"  said  he,  "  I,  who  have  lived  eighteen  years  in 
New  Zealand  and  have  served  five  in  a  professorship,  and  ought 
to  know  much  about  that  country,  perceive,  now,  that  I  know 
almost  nothing  about  it.  I  say  it  with  shame,  that  I  have  learned 
fifty  times,  yes,  a  hundred  times  more  about  New  Zealand  in 
these  two  hours  at  this  table  than  I  ever  knew  before  in  all  the 
eighteen  years  put  together.  I  was  silent  because  I  could  not 
help  myself.    What  I  knew  about  taxes,  and  policies,  and  laws, 

236 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  revenue,  and  products,  and  history,  and  all  that  multitude 
of  things,  was  but  general,  and  ordinary,  and  vague — unscientific, 
in  a  word — and  it  would  have  been  insanity  to  expose  it  here 
to  the  searching  glare  of  your  amazingly  accurate  and  all-com- 
prehensive knowledge  of  those  matters,  gentlemen.  I  beg  you 
to  let  me  sit  silent — as  becomes  me.  But  do  not  change  the 
subject;  I  can  at  least  follow  you,  in  this  one;  whereas,  if  you 
change  to  one  which  shall  call  out  the  full  strength  of  your  mighty 
erudition,  I  shall  be  as  one  lost.  If  you  know  all  this  about  a 
remote  little  inconsequent  patch  like  New  Zealand,  ah,  what 
wouldn't  you  know  about  any  other  subject!" 


CHAPTER  XXVII 

ROBINSON  THE  CONCILIATOR 

Man  is  the  Only  Animal  that  Blushes.     Or  needs  to. 

— Puddn'head  Wilson's  New  CoUndar. 
The  universal  brotherhood  of  man  is  our  most  precious  possession,  what  there 
is  of  it. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

From  Diary: 

7i  TOV.  I — Noon.  A  fine  day,  a  brilliant  sun. 
JL  V  Warm  in  the  sun,  cold  in  the  shade — an  icy 
breeze  blowing  out  of  the  south.  A  solemn  long 
swell  rolling  up  northward.  It  comes  from  the 
South  Pole,  with  nothing  in  the  way  to  obstruct  its 
march  and  tone  its  energy  down.  I  have  read  some- 
where that  an  acute  observer  among  the  early  ex- 
plorers— Cook?  or  Tasman? — accepted  this  majestic 
swell  as  trustworthy  circumstantial  evidence  that  no 
important  land  lay  to  the  southward,  and  so  did 
not  waste  time  on  a  useless  quest  in  that  direction, 
but  changed  his  course  and  went  searching  elsewhere. 
Afternoon.  Passing  between  Tasmania  (formerly 
Van  Di.emen's  Land)  and  neighboring  islands — 
islands  whence  the  poor  exiled  Tasmanian  savages 
used  to  gaze  at  their  lost  homeland  and  cry;  and 
die  of  broken  hearts.  How  glad  I  am  that  all  these 
native  races  are  dead  and  gone,  or  nearly  so.  The 
work  was  mercifully  swift  and  horrible  in  some 
portions  of  Australia.  As  far  as  Tasmania  is  con- 
cerned,   the   extermination    was    complete:     not    a 

238 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

native  is  left.  It  was  a  strife  of  years,  and  decades 
of  years.  The  Whites  and  the  Blacks  hunted  each 
other,  ambushed  each  other,  butchered  each  other. 
The  Blacks  were  not  numerous.  But  they  were 
wary,  alert,  cimning,  and  they  knew  their  country 
well.  They  lasted  a  long  time,  few  as  they  were, 
and  inflicted  much  slaughter  upon  the  Whites. 

The  government  wanted  to  save  the  Blacks  from 
ultimate  extermination,  if  possible.  One  of  its 
schemes  was  to  capture  them  and  coop  them  up, 
on  a  neighboring  island,  under  guard.  Bodies  of 
Whites  volunteered  for  the  himt,  for  the  pay  was 
good — five  pounds  for  each  Black  captured  and  de- 
livered; but  the  success  achieved  was  not  very  satis- 
factory. The  Black  was  naked,  and  his  body  was 
greased.  It  was  hard  to  get  a  grip  on  him  that  would 
hold.  The  Whites  moved  about  in  armed  bodies, 
and  surprised  little  families  of  natives,  and  did  make 
captures;  but  it  was  suspected  that  in  these  sur- 
prises half  a  dozen  natives  were  killed  to  one  caught — 
and  that  was  not  what  the  government  desired. 

Another  scheme  was  to  drive  the  natives  into  a 
comer  of  the  island  and  fence  them  in  by  a  cordon 
of  men  placed  in  line  across  the  country;  but  the 
natives  managed  to  slip  through,  constantly,  and 
continue  their  murders  and  arsons. 

The  Governor  warned  these  unlettered  savages  by 
printed  proclamation  that  they  must  stay  in  the 
desolate  region  officially  appointed  for  them!  The 
proclamation  was  a  dead  letter;  the  savages  could 
not  read  it.  Afterward  a  picture-pvoclamsition  was 
issued.     It   was   painted   upon   boards,    and   these 

239 


MARK     TWAIN 

were  nailed  to  trees  in  the  forest.  Herewith  is  a 
photographic  reproduction  of  this  fashion-plate. 
Substantially  it  means : 

1.  The  Governor  wishes  the  Whites  and  the  Blacks  to  love 
each  other; 

2.  He  loves  his  black  subjects; 

3.  Blacks  who  kill  Whites  will  be  hanged; 

4.  Whites  who  kill  Blacks  will  be  hanged. 

Upon  its  several  schemes  the  government  spent 
thirty  thousand  poimds  and  employed  the  labors  and 
ingenuities  of  several  thousand  Whites  for  a  long 
time — with  failure  as  a  result.  Then,  at  last,  a 
quarter  of  a  century  after  the  beginning  of  the 
troubles  between  the  two  races,  the  right  man  was 
foimd.  No,  he  foimd  himself.  This  was  George 
Augustus  Robinson,  called  in  history  *'The  Concilia- 
tor." He  was  not  educated,  and  not  conspicuous  in 
any  way.  He  was  a  working  bricklayer,  in  Hobart 
Town.  But  he  must  have  been  an  amazing  person- 
ality; a  man  worth  traveling  far  to  see.  It  may  be 
his  coimterpart  appears  in  history,  but  I  do  not  know 
where  to  look  for  it. 

He  set  himself  this  incredible  task:  to  go  out  into 
the  wilderness,  the  jungle,  and  the  mountain  retreats 
where  the  himted  and  implacable  savages  were  hid- 
den, and  appear  among  them  unarmed,  speak  the 
language  of  love  and  of  kindness  to  them,  and  per- 
suade them  to  forsake  their  homes  and  the  wild  free 
Hfe  that  was  so  dear  to  them,  and  go  with  him  and 
surrender  to  the  hated  Whites  and  live  imder  their 
watch  and  ward,  and  upon  their  charity  the  rest  of 
their  Hves !  On  its  face  it  was  the  dream  of  a  madman. 

240 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

In  the  beginning,  his  moral-suasion  project  was 
sarcastically  dubbed  the  sugar-plum  speculation.  If 
the  scheme  was  striking,  and  new  to  the  world's 
experience,  the  situation  was  not  less  so.  It  was 
this.  The  White  population  numbered  forty  thou- 
sand in  1 831;  the  Black  population  numbered  three 
hundred.  Not  three  hundred  warriors,  but  three 
hundred  men,  women,  and  children.  The  Whites 
were  armed  with  guns,  the  Blacks  with  clubs  and 
spears.  The  Whites  had  fought  the  Blacks  for  a 
quarter  of  a  century,  and  had  tried  every  thinkable 
way  to  capture,  kill,  or  subdue  them;  and  could  not 
do  it.  If  white  men  of  any  race  could  have  done 
it,  these  woiild  have  accomplished  it.  But  every 
scheme  had  failed,  the  splendid  three  hundred,  the 
matchless  three  hundred  were  unconquered,  and 
manifestly  tmconquerable.  They  would  not  yield, 
they  would  listen  to  no  terms,  they  would  fight  to 
the  bitter  end.  Yet  they  had  no  poet  to  keep  up 
their  heart,  and  sing  the  marvel  of  their  magnificent 
patriotism. 

At  the  end  of  five-and-twenty  years  of  hard  fight- 
ing, the  surviving  three  hundred  naked  patriots  were 
still  defiant,  still  persistent,  still  efiicacious  with  their 
rude  weapons,  and  the  Governor  and  the  forty  thou- 
sand knew  not  which  way  to  turn,  nor  what  to  do. 

Then  the  Bricklayer — that  wonderful  man — pro- 
posed to  go  out  into  the  wilderness,  with  no  weapon 
but  his  tongue,  and  no  protection  but  his  honest 
eye  and  his  humane  heart,  and  track  those  embittered 
savages  to  their  lairs  in  the  gloomy  forests  and  among 
the  moimtain  snows.     Naturally,  he  was  considered 

241 


MARK     TWAIN 

a  crank.  But  he  was  not  quite  that.  In  fact,  he 
was  a  good  way  short  of  that.  He  was  building 
upon  his  long  and  intimate  knowledge  of  the  native 
character.  The  deriders  of  his  project  were  right — 
from  their  standpoint — for  they  believed  the  natives 
to  be  mere  wild  beasts;  and  Robinson  was  right, 
from  his  standpoint — for  he  believed  the  natives  to 
be  human  beings.  The  truth  did  really  lie  between 
the  two.  The  event  proved  that  Robinson's  judg- 
ment was  soundest;  but  about  once  a  month  for 
four  years  the  event  came  near  to  giving  the  verdict 
to  the  deriders,  for  about  that  frequently  Robinson 
barely  escaped  falling  under  the  native  spears. 

But  history  shows  that  he  had  a  thinking  head, 
and  was  not  a  mere  wild  sentimentalist.  For  in- 
stance, he  wanted  the  war  parties  called  in  before 
he  started  unarmed  upon  his  mission  of  peace.  He 
wanted  the  best  chance  of  success — not  a  half- 
chance.  And  he  was  very  willing  to  have  help; 
and  so,  high  rewards  were  advertised,  for  any  who 
would  go  unarmed  with  him.  This  opportunity  was 
declined.  Robinson  persuaded  some  tamed  natives 
of  both  sexes  to  go  with  him — a  strong  evidence  of 
his  persuasive  powers,  for  those  natives  well  knew 
that  their  destruction  would  be  almost  certain.  As 
it  turned  out,  they  had  to  face  death  over  and  over 
again. 

Robinson  and  his  little  party  had  a  difficult  under- 
taking upon  their  hands.  They  could  not  ride  off, 
horseback,  comfortably  into  the  woods  and  call  Leon- 
idas  and  his  three  hundred  together  for  a  talk  and  a 
treaty  the  following  day ;  for  the  wild  men  were  not 

242 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

in  a  body;  they  were  scattered,  immense  distances 
apart,  over  regions  so  desolate  that  even  the  birds 
could  not  make  a  living  with  the  chances  offered — 
scattered  in  groups  of  twenty,  a  dozen,  half  a  dozen, 
even  in  groups  of  three.  And  the  mission  must  go 
on  foot.  Mr.  Bon  wick  furnishes  a  description  of 
those  horrible  regions,  whereby  it  will  be  seen  that 
even  fugitive  gangs  of  the  hardiest  and  choicest 
human  devils  the  world  has  seen — the  convicts  set 
apart  to  people  the  ''Hell  of  Macquarrie  Harbor 
Station" — were  never  able,  but  once,  to  survive  the 
horrors  of  a  march  through  them,  but,  starving  and 
struggling,  and  fainting  and  failing,  ate  each  other, 
and  died: 

Onward,  still  onward,  was  the  order  of  the  indomitable  Rob- 
inson. No  one  ignorant  of  the  western  country  of  Tasmania 
can  form  a  correct  idea  of  the  traveling  difficulties.  While  I 
was  resident  in  Hobart  Town,  the  Governor,  Sir  John  Franklin, 
and  his  lady,  undertook  the  western  journey  to  Macquarrie 
Harbor,  and  suffered  terribly.  One  man  who  assisted  to  carry 
her  ladyship  through  the  swamps,  gave  me  this  bitter  experience 
of  its  miseries.  Several  were  disabled  for  life.  No  wonder  that 
but  one  party,  escaping  from  Macquarrie  Harbor  convict  settle- 
ment, arrived  at  the  civilized  region  in  safety.  Men  perished 
in  the  scrub,  were  lost  in  snow,  or  were  devoured  by  their  com- 
panions. This  was  the  territory  traversed  by  Mr.  Robinson 
and  his  Black  guides.  All  honor  to  his  intrepidity^,  and  their 
wonderful  fidelity!  When  they  had,  in  the  depth  of  winter,  to 
cross  deep  and  rapid  rivers,  pass  among  mountains  six  thousand 
feet  high,  pierce  dangerous  thickets,  and  find  food  in  a  coimtry 
forsaken  even  by  birds,  we  can  realize  their  hardships. 

After  a  frightful  journey  by  Cradle  Mountain,  and  over  the 
lofty  plateau  of  Middlesex  Plains,  the  travelers  experienced 
unwonted  misery,  and  the  circumstances  called  forth  the  best 
qualities  of  the  noble  little  band.  Mr.  Robinson  wrote  after- 
ward to  Mr.  Secretary  Burnett  some  details  of  this  passage  of 

243 


MARK     TWAIN 

horrors.  In  that  letter,  of  October  2,  1834,  he  states  that  his 
Natives  were  very  reluctant  to  go  over  the  dreadful  mountain 
passes;  that  "for  seven  successive  days  we  continued  traveling 
over  one  solid  body  of  snow  ";  that  "the  snows  were  of  incredible 
depth";  that  "the  Natives  were  frequently  up  to  their  middle 
in  snow.'*  But  still  the  ill-clad,  ill-fed,  diseased,  and  wayworn 
men  and  women  were  sustained  by  the  cheerful  voice  of  their 
unconquerable  friend,  and  responded  most  nobly  to  his  call. 

Mr.  Bon  wick  says  that  Robinson's  friendly  capture 
ot  the  Big  River  tribe — remember,  it  was  a  whole 
tribe — "was  by  far  the  grandest  feature  of  the  war, 
and  the  crowning  glory  of  his  efforts."  The  word 
"war"  was  not  well  chosen,  and  is  misleading. 
There  was  war  still,  but  only  the  Blacks  were  con- 
ducting it — the  Whites  were  holding  ofT  until  Rob- 
inson could  give  his  scheme  a  fair  trial.  I  think 
that  we  are  to  tmderstand  that  the  friendly  capture 
of  that  tribe  was  by  far  the  most  important  thing, 
the  highest  in  value,  that  happened  during  the  whole 
thirty  years  of  truceless  hostilities;  that  it  was  a 
decisive  thing,  a  peaceful  Waterloo,  the  surrender  of 
the  native  Napoleon  and  his  dreaded  forces,  the 
happy  ending  of  the  long  strife.  For  "that  tribe 
was  the  terror  of  the  colony,"  its  chief  "the  Black 
Douglas  of  Bush  households." 

Robinson  knew  that  these  formidable  people  were 
lurking  somewhere,  in  some  remote  comer  of  the 
hideous  regions  just  described,  and  he  and  his  im- 
armed  little  party  started  on  a  tedious  and  perilous 
hunt  for  them.  At  last,  "there,  under  the  shadows 
of  the  Frenchman's  Cap,  whose  grim  cone  rose  five 
thousand  feet  in  the  iminhabited  westward  interior," 
they  were  fotmd.     It  was  a  serious  moment.    Rob- 

244 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

inson  himself  believed,  for  once,  that  his  mission, 
successful  until  now,  was  to  end  here  in  failure,  and 
that  his  own  death-hour  had  struck. 

The  redoubtable  chief  stood  in  menacing  attitude, 
svith  his  eighteen-foot  spear  poised;  his  warriors 
stood  massed  at  his  back,  armed  for  battle,  their 
:aces  eloquent  with  their  long-cherished  loathing  for 
ivhite  men.  ''They  rattled  their  spears  and  shouted 
:heir  war-cry."  Their  women  were  back  of  them, 
aden  with  supplies  of  weapons,  and  keeping  their 
Dne  hundred  and  fifty  eager  dogs  quiet  tmtil  the  chief 
should  give  the  signal  to  fall  on. 

"I  think  we  shall  soon  be  in  the  resurrection," 
?^hispered  a  member  of  Robinson's  little  party. 

"I  think  we  shall,"  answered  Robinson;  then 
Dlucked  up  heart  and  began  his  persuasions — in  the 
bribe's  own  dialect,  which  surprised  and  pleased  the 
:hief.  Presently  there  was  an  interruption  by  the 
:hief: 

"Who  are  you?" 

"We  are  gentlemen." 

**  *  Where  are  your  gims  ?" 

"We  have  none." 

The  warrior  was  astonished. 

"Where  your  little  guns?"  (pistols.) 

"We  have  none." 

A  few  minutes  passed — in  by-play — suspense — 
iiscussion  among  the  tribesmen — Robinson's  tamed 
quaws  ventured  to  cross  the  line  and  begin  per- 
suasions upon  the  wild  squaws.  Then  the  chief 
stepped  back  "to  confer  with  the  old  women — the 
•eal  arbiters  of  savage  war. '  *    Mr.  Bon  wick  continues : 

245 


MARK    TWAIN 

As  the  fallen  gladiator  in  the  arena  looks  for  the  signal  of  life 
or  death  from  the  president  of  the  amphitheater,  so  waited  our 
friends  in  anxious  suspense  while  the  conference  continued.  In 
a  few  minutes,  before  a  word  was  uttered,  the  women  of  the 
tribe  threw  up  their  arms  three  times.  This  was  the  inviolable 
sign  of  peace!  Down  fell  the  spears.  Forward,  with  a  heavy 
sigh  of  relief,  and  upward  glance  of  gratitude,  came  the  friends 
of  peace.  The  impulsive  natives  rushed  forth  with  tears  and 
cries,  as  each  saw  in  the  other's  ranks  a  loved  one  of  the  past. . . . 

It  was  a  jubilee  of  joy.  A  festival  followed.  And,  while 
tears  flowed  at  the  recital  of  woe,  a  corroboree  of  pleasant 
laughter  closed  the  eventful  day. 

In  four  years,  without  the  spilling  of  a  drop  of 
blood,  Robinson  brought  them  all  in,  willing  captives, 
and  delivered  them  to  the  white  governor,  and  ended 
the  war  which  powder  and  bullets,  and  thousands 
of  men  to  use  them,  had  prosecuted  without  result 
since  1804. 

Marsyas  charming  the  wild  beasts  with  his  music — 
that  is  fable;  but  the  miracle  wrought  by  Robinson 
is  fact.  It  is  history — and  authentic;  and  surely, 
there  is  nothing  greater,  nothing  more  reverence- 
compelling  in  the  history  of  any  coimtry,  ancient 
or  modern. 

And  in  memory  of  the  greatest  man  Australasia 
ever  developed  or  ever  will  develop,  there  is  a  stately 
monimient  to  George  Augustus  Robinson,  the  Con- 
ciliator, in — no,  it  is  to  another  man,  I  forget  his  name. 

However,  Robinson's  own  generation  honored  him, 
and  in  manifesting  it  honored  themselves.  The 
government  gave  him  a  money  reward  and  a  thou- 
sand acres  of  land;  and  the  people  held  mass- 
meetings  and  praised  him  and  emphasized  their 
praise  with  a  large  subscription  of  money. 

246 


FOLLOWING    THE    EQUATOR 

A  good  dramatic  situation ;  but  the  curtain  fell  on 
another : 

When  this  desperate  tribe  was  thus  captured,  there  was  much 
surprise  to  find  that  the  thirty  thousand  pounds  of  a  little  earlier 
day  had  been  spent,  and  the  whole  population  of  the  colony 
placed  under  arms,  in  contention  with  an  opposing  force  of 
sixteen  men  with  wooden  spears!  Yet  such  was  the  fact.  The 
celebrated  Big  River  tribe,  that  had  been  raised  by  European 
fears  to  a  host,  consisted  of  sixteen  men,  nine  women,  and  one 
child.  With  a  knowledge  of  the  mischief  done  by  these  few, 
their  wonderful  marches  and  their  wide-spread  aggressions,  their 
enemies  cannot  deny  to  them  the  attributes  of  courage  and 
military  tact.  A  Wallace  might  harass  a  large  army  with  a 
small  and  determined  band;  but  the  contending  parties  were  at 
least  equal  in  arms  and  civilization.  The  Zulus  who  fought  us 
in  Africa,  the  Maoris  in  New  Zealand,  the  Arabs  in  the  Soudan, 
were  far  better  provided  with  weapons,  more  advanced  in  the 
science  of  war,  and  considerably  more  numerous,  than  the  naked 
Tasmanians.  Governor  Arthur  rightly  termed  them  a  noble 
race. 

These  were  indeed  wonderful  people,  the  natives. 
They  ought  not  to  have  been  wasted.  They  should 
have  been  crossed  with  the  Whites.  It  would  have 
improved  the  Whites  and  done  the  Natives  no  harm. 

But  the  Natives  were  wasted,  poor  heroic  wild 
creatures.  They  were  gathered  together  in  little 
settlements  on  neighboring  islands,  and  paternally 
cared  for  by  the  government,  and  instructed  in 
religion,  and  deprived  of  tobacco,  because  the  super- 
intendent of  the  Sunday-school  was  not  a  smoker, 
and  so  considered  smoking  immoral. 

The  Natives  were  not  used  to  clothes,  and  houses, 
and  regular  hours,  and  church,  and  school,  and 
Sunday-school,  and  work,  and  the  other  misplaced 
persecutions  of  civilization,  and  they  pined  for  their 

247 


MARK     TWAIN 

lost  home  and  their  wild,  free  life.  Too  late  they 
repented  that  they  had  traded  that  heaven  for  this 
hell.  They  sat  homesick  on  their  alien  crags,  and 
day  by  day  gazed  out  through  their  tears  over  the 
sea  with  unappeasable  longing  toward  the  hazy  budk 
which  was  the  specter  of  what  had  been  their  para- 
dise;  one  by  one  their  hearts  broke  and  they  died. 

In  a  very  few  years  nothing  but  a  scant  remnant 
remained  aHve.  A  handful  lingered  along  into  age. 
In  1864  the  last  man  died,  in  1876  the  last  woman 
died,  and  the  Spartans  of  Australasia  were  extinct. 

The  Whites  always  mean  well  when  they  take 
human  fish  out  of  the  ocean  and  try  to  make  them 
dry  and  warm  and  happy  and  comfortable  in  a 
chicken -coop ;  but  the  kindest-hearted  white  man  can 
always  be  depended  on  to  prove  himself  inadequate 
when  he  deals  with  savages.  He  cannot  turn  the 
situation  aroimd  and  imagine  how  he  would  like  it 
to  have  a  well-meaning  savage  transfer  him  from 
his  house  and  his  church  and  his  clothes  and  his 
books  and  his  choice  food  to  a  hideous  wilderness  of 
sand  and  rocks  and  snow,  and  ice  and  sleet  and 
storm  and  blistering  sun,  with  no  shelter,  no  bed,  no 
covering  for  his  and  his  family's  naked  bodies,  and 
nothing  to  eat  but  snakes  and  grubs  and  offal.  This 
would  be  a  hell  to  him ;  and  if  he  had  any  wisdom  he 
would  know  that  his  own  civilization  is  a  hell  to  the 
savage — but  he  hasn't  any,  and  has  never  had  any; 
and  for  lack  of  it  he  shut  up  those  poor  natives  in  the 
imimaginable  perdition  of  his  civilization,  committing 
his  crime  with  the  very  best  intentions,  and  saw 
those  poor  creatures  waste  away  tmder  his  tortures; 

248 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  gazed  at  it,  vaguely  troubled  and  sorrowful,  and 
wondered  what  could  be  the  matter  with  them.  One 
is  almost  betrayed  into  respecting  those  criminals, 
they  were  so  sincerely  kind,  and  tender,  and  humane, 
and  well-meaning. 

They  didn't  know  why  those  exiled  savages  faded 
away,  and  they  did  their  honest  best  to  reason  it  out. 
And  one  man,  in  a  like  case,  in  New  South  Wales, 
did  reason  it  out  and  arrive  at  a  solution: 

"It  is  from  the  wrath  of  God,  which  is  revealed 
from  heaven  against  all  ungodliness  and  unrighteous- 
ness of  men.'' 

That  settles  it. 


CHAPTER  XXVIII 

THE  JOKE  THAT  MADE  ED^S  FORTUNE 

Let  us  be  thankful  for  the  fools.     But  for  them  the  rest  of  us  could  not  succeed. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

THE  aphorism  does  really  seem  true :  * '  Given  the 
Circumstances,  the  Man  will  appear."  But  the 
man  mustn't  appear  ahead  of  time,  or  it  will  spoil 
everything.  In  Robinson's  case  the  Moment  had 
been  approaching  for  a  quarter  of  a  century — and 
meantime  the  future  Conciliator  was  tranquilly  lay- 
ing bricks  in  Hobart.  When  all  other  means  had 
failed,  the  Moment  had  arrived,  and  the  Bricklayer 
put  down  his  trowel  and  came  forward.  Earlier  he 
would  have  been  jeered  back  to  his  trowel  again. 
It  reminds  me  of  a  tale  that  was  told  me  by  a  Ken- 
tuckian  on  the  train  when  we  were  crossing  Montana. 
He  said  the  tale  was  current  in  Louisville  years  ago. 
He  thought  it  had  been  in  print,  but  could  not  re- 
member. At  any  rate,  in  substance  it  was  this,  as 
nearly  as  I  can  call  it  back  to  mind. 

A  few  years  before  the  outbreak  of  the  Civil  War 
it  began  to  appear  that  Memphis,  Tennessee,  was 
going  to  be  a  great  tobacco  entrepdt — the  wise  could 
see  the  signs  of  it.  At  that  time  Memphis  had  a 
wharfboat,  of  course.  There  was  a  paved  slopinj 
wharf,  for  the  accommodation  of  freight,  but  th^ 
steamers  landed  on  the  outside  of  the  wharfboat,  an< 

250 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

all  loading  and  unloading  was  done  across  it,  between 
steamer  and  shore.  A  number  of  wharfboat  clerks 
were  needed,  and  part  of  the  time,  every  day,  they 
were  very  busy,  and  part  of  the  time  tediously  idle. 
They  were  boiling  over  with  youth  and  spirits, 
and  they  had  to  make  the  intervals  of  idleness 
endurable  in  some  way;  and  as  a  rule,  they  did  it 
by  contriving  practical  jokes  and  playing  them  upon 
each  other. 

The  favorite  butt  for  the  jokes  was  Ed  Jackson, 
because  he  played  none  himself,  and  was  easy  game 
for  other  people's — for  he.  always  believed  what- 
ever was  told  him. 

One  day  he  told  the  others  his  scheme  for  his  holi- 
day. He  was  not  going  fishing  or  himting  this 
time — no,  he  had  thought  out  a  better  plan.  Out  of 
his  forty  dollars  a  month  he  had  saved  enough  for 
his  purpose,  in  an  economical  way,  and  he  was  going 
to  have  a  look  at  New  York. 

It  was  a  great  and  surprising  idea.  It  meant  travel 
— ^immense  travel — in  those  days  it  meant  seeing 
the  world ;  it  was  the  equivalent  of  a  voyage  aroimd 
it  in  otirs.  At  first  the  other  youths  thought  his 
mind  was  affected,  but  when  they  found  that  he  was 
in  earnest,  the  next  thing  to  be  thought  of  was,  what 
sort  of  opportunity  this  venture  might  afford  for  a 
practical  joke. 

The  young  men  studied  over  the  matter,  then  held 
a  secret  consultation  and  made  a  plan.  The  idea 
was,  that  one  of  the  conspirators  should  offer  Ed  a 
letter  of  introduction  to  Commodore  Vanderbilt,  and 
trick  him  into  delivering  it.     It  would  be  easy  to  do 

251 


MARK     TWAIN 

this.  But  what  would  Ed  do  when  he  got  back  to 
Memphis?  That  was  a  serious  matter.  He  was 
good-hearted,  and  had  always  taken  the  jokes  pa- 
tiently; but  they  had  been  jokes  which  did  not 
humiliate  him,  did  not  bring  him  to  shame ;  whereas, 
this  would  be  a  cruel  one  in  that  way,  and  to  play  it 
was  to  meddle  with  fire ;  for  with  all  his  good  nature, 
Ed  was  a  Southerner — and  the  English  of  that  was, 
that  when  he  came  back  he  would  kill  as  many  of  the 
conspirators  as  he  could  before  falling  himself.  How- 
ever, the  chances  must  be  taken — it  wouldn't  do  to 
waste  such  a  joke  as  that. 

So  the  letter  was  prepared  with  great  care  and 
elaboration.  It  was  signed  Alfred  Fairchild,  and  was 
written  in  an  easy  and  friendly  spirit.  It  stated  that 
the  bearer  was  the  bosom  friend  of  the  writer's  son, 
and  was  of  good  parts  and  sterling  character,  and  it 
begged  the  Commodore  to  be  kind  to  the  yoimg 
stranger  for  the  writer's  sake.  It  went  on  to  say, 
*'You  may  have  forgotten  me,  in  this  long  stretch 
of  time,  but  you  will  easily  call  me  back  out  of  your 
boyhood  memories  when  I  remind  you  of  how  we 
robbed  old  Stevenson's  orchard  that  night ;  and  how, 
while  he  was  chasing  down  the  road  after  us,  we  cut 
across  the  field  and  doubled  back  and  sold  his  own 
apples  to  his  own  cook  for  a  hatful  of  doughnuts; 
and  the  time  that  we — "  and  so  forth  and  so  on, 
bringing  in  names  of  imaginary  comrades,  and  detail- 
ing all  sorts  of  wild  and  absurd  and,  of  course,  wholly 
imaginary  school-boy  pranks  and  adventures,  but 
putting  them  into  lively  and  telling  shape. 

With  all  gravity  Ed  was  asked  if  he  would  like  to 
.  252 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

have  a  letter  to  Commodore  Vanderbilt,  the  great 
millionaire.  It  was  expected  that  the  question  would 
astonish  Ed,  and  it  did. 

"What?     Do  you  know  that  extraordinary  man?" 

"No;  but  my  father  does.  They  were  school- 
boys together.  And  if  you  like,  I'll  write  and  ask 
father.  I  know  he'll  be  glad  to  give  it  to  you  for 
my  sake." 

Ed  could  not  find  words  capable  of  expressing  his 
gratitude  and  deHght.  The  three  days  passed,  and 
the  letter  was  put  into  his  hands.  He  started  on  his 
trip,  still  pouring  out  his  thanks  while  he  shook  good- 
by  all  aroimd.  And  when  he  was  out  of  sight  his 
comrades  let  fly  their  laughter  in  a  storm  of  happy 
satisfaction — and  then  quieted  down,  and  were  less 
happy,  less  satisfied.  For  the  old  doubts  as  to  the 
wisdom  of  this  deception  began  to  intrude  again. 

Arrived  in  New  York,  Ed  foimd  his  way  to  Com- 
modore Vanderbilt's  business  quarters,  and  was 
ushered  into  a  large  anteroom,  where  a  score  of 
people  were  patiently  awaiting  their  turn  for  a  two- 
minute  interview  with  the  millionaire  in  his  private 
ofi&ce.  A  servant  asked  for  Ed's  card,  and  got  the 
letter  instead.  Ed  was  sent  for  a  moment  later,  and 
found  Mr.  Vanderbilt  alone,  with  the  letter — open 
— in  his  hand. 

"Pray  sit  down,  Mr. — er — " 

"Jackson." 

"Ah — sit  down,  Mr.  Jackson.  By  the  opening 
sentences  it  seems  to  be  a  letter  from  an  old  friend. 
Allow  me — I  will  nm  my  eye  through  it.  He  says — 
he  says — why,  who  is  it?"    He  turned  the  sheet  and 

253 


MARK    TWAIN 

found  the  signature .  * '  Alfred  Fairchild — ^h  *m — Fair- 
child — I  don't  recall  the  name.  But  that  is  nothing 
— a  thousand  names  have  gone  from  me.  He  says — 
he  says — h*m — h'm — oh,  dear,  but  it's  good !  Oh,  it's 
rare !  I  don't  quite  remember  it,  but  I  seem  to — it  '11 
all  come  back  to  me  presently.  He  says — ^he  says — 
h'm — ^h'm — oh,  but  that  was  a  game !  Oh,  spl-endid ! 
How  it  carries  me  back!  It's  all  dim,  of  course — 
it's  a  long  time  ago — and  the  names — some  of  the 
names  are  wavery  and  indistinct — but  sho*,  I  know 
it  happened — I  can  feel  it !  and  lord,  how  it  warms 
my  heart,  and  brings  back  my  lost  youth!  Well, 
well,  well,  I've  got  to  come  back  into  this  workaday 
world  now — business  presses  and  people  are  waiting 
— I'll  keep  the  rest  for  bed  to-night,  and  live  my 
youth  over  again.  And  you'll  thank  Fairchild  for 
me  when  you  see  him — I  used  to  call  him  Alf,  I 
think — and  you'll  give  him  my  gratitude  for  what 
this  letter  has  done  for  the  tired  spirit  of  a  hard- 
worked  man;  and  tell  him  there  isn't  anything  that 
I  can  do  for  him  or  any  friend  of  his  that  I  won't  do. 
And  as  for  you,  my  lad,  you  are  my  guest;  you 
can't  stop  at  any  hotel  in  New  York.  Sit  where  you 
are  a  little  while,  till  I  get  through  with  these  people, 
then  we'll  go  home.  I'll  take  care  of  you,  my  boy — 
make  yourself  easy  as  to  that." 

Ed  stayed  a  week,  and  had  an  immense  time — and 
never  suspected  that  the  Commodore's  shrewd  eyes 
were  on  him,  and  that  he  was  daily  being  weighed  and 
measured  and  analyzed  and  tried  and  tested. 

Yes,  he  had  an  immense  time;  and  never  wrote 
home,  but  saved  it  all  up  to  tell  when  he  should  get 

254 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

back.  Twice,  with  proper  modesty  and  decency,  he 
proposed  to  end  his  visit,  but  the  Commodore  said, 
"No  —  wait;  leave  it  to  me;  I'll  tell  you  when 
to  go." 

In  those  days  the  Commodore  was  making  some 
of  those  vast  combinations  of  his — consolidations 
of  warring  odds  and  ends  of  railroads  into  harmonious 
systems,  and  concentrations  of  floating  and  rudder- 
less commerce  in  effective  centers — and  among  other 
things  his  far-seeing  eye  had  detected  the  conver- 
gence of  that  huge  tobacco-commerce,  already  spoken 
of,  toward  Memphis,  and  he  had  resolved  to  set  his 
grasp  upon  it  and  make  it  his  own. 

The  week  came  to  an  end.  Then  the  Commodore 
said: 

* '  Now  you  can  start  home.  But  first  we  will  have 
some  more  talk  about  that  tobacco  matter.  I  know 
you  now.  I  know  your  abilities  as  well  as  you  know 
them  yourself — perhaps  better.  You  imderstand 
that  tobacco  matter;  you  understand  that  I  am  go- 
ing to  take  possession  of  it,  and  you  also  understand 
the  plans  which  I  have  matured  for  doing  it.  What 
I  want  is  a  man  who  knows  my  mind,  and  is  qualified 
to  represent  me  in  Memphis,  and  be  in  supreme 
command  of  that  important  business — ^and  I  appoint 
you." 

"Me!" 

"Yes,  Your  salary  will  be  high — of  cotirse — ^for 
you  are  representing  me.  Later  you  will  earn  in- 
creases of  it,  and  will  get  them.  You  wiU  need  a 
small  army  of  assistants;  choose  them  yourself — 
and  carefully.     Take  no  man  for  friendship's  sake; 


MARK    TWAIN 

but,  all  things  being  equal,  take  the  man  you  know, 
take  your  friend,  in  preference  to  the  stranger." 

After  some  further  talk  imder  this  head,  the  Com- 
modore said:  *'Good-by,  my  boy,  and  thank  Alf 
for  me,  for  sending  you  to  me." 

When  Ed  reached  Memphis  he  rushed  down  to  the 
wharf  in  a  fever  to  tell  his  great  news  and  thank  the 
boys  over  and  over  again  for  thinking  to  give  him 
the  letter  to  Mr.  Vanderbilt.  It  happened  to  be  one 
of  those  idle  times.  Blazing  hot  noonday,  and  no 
sign  of  life  on  the  wharf.  But  as  Ed  threaded  his 
wa^  among  the  freight -piles,  he  saw  a  white  linen 
figure  stretched  in  sltunber  upon  a  pile  of  grain-sacks 
imder  an  awning,  and  said  to  himself,  "That's  one 
of  them,"  and  hastened  his  step;  next,  he  said, 
"It's  Charley — it's  Fairchild — good'*;  and  the  next 
moment  laid  an  affectionate  hand  on  the  sleeper's 
shoulder.  The  eyes  opened  lazily,  took  one  glance, 
the  face  blanched,  the  form  whirled  itself  from  the 
sack-pile,  and  in  an  instant  Ed  was  alone  and  Fair- 
child  was  flying  for  the  wharfboat  like  the  wind! 

Ed  was  dazed,  stupefied.  Was  Fairchild  crazy? 
What  could  be  the  meaning  of  this?  He  started 
slow  and  dreamily  down  toward  the  wharfboat; 
turned  the  comer  of  a  freight-pile  and  came  suddenly 
upon  two  of  the  boys.  They  were  lightly  laughing 
over  some  pleasant  matter ;  they  heard  his  step,  and 
glanced  up  just  as  he  discovered  them;  the  laugh 
died  abruptly ;  and  before  Ed  could  speak  they  were 
off,  and  sailing  over  barrels  and  bales  like  htmted 
deer.  Again  Ed  was  paralyzed.  Had  the  boys  all 
gone  mad?    What  could  be  the  explanation  of  this 

256 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

extraordinary  conduct?  And  so,  dreaming  along, 
he  reached  the  wharfboat,  and  stepped  aboard — 
nothing  but  silence  there,  and  vacancy.  He  crossed 
the  deck,  turned  the  comer  to  go  down  the  outer 
guard,  heard  a  fervent — 

"O  Lord!"  and  saw  a  white  linen  form  plunge 
overboard. 

The  youth  came  up  coughing  and  strangling,  and 
cried  out : 

' '  Go  'way  from  here !  You  let  me  alone.  I  didn't 
do  it,  I  swear  I  didn't!" 

''Didn't  do  whatr 

"Give  you  the—" 

"Never  mind  what  you  didn't  do — come  out  of 
that!  What  makes  you  all  act  so?  What  have  / 
done?" 

"You?  Why,  you  haven't  done  anything.    But — " 

"Well,  then,  what  have  you  got  against  me? 
What  do  you  all  treat  me  so  for?" 

' '  I — er — but  haven't  you  got  anything  against  us?'* 

' '  Of  course  not.  What  put  such  a  thing  into  your 
head?" 

"Honor  bright — ^you  haven't?" 

"Honor  bright." 

"Swear  it!" 

"I  don't  know  what  in  the  world  you  mean,  but 
I  swear  it,  anyway." 

"And  you'll  shake  hands  with  me?" 

"Goodness  knows  I'll  be  glad  to!  Why,  I'm  just 
starving  to  shake  hands  with  somebody!'' 

The  swimmer  muttered,  "Hang  him,  he  smelt  a 
rat  and  never  delivered  the  letter! — but  it's  all  right, 

257 


MARK    TWAIN 

I'm  not  going  to  fetch  up  the  subject."  And  he 
crawled  out  and  came  dripping  and  draining  to  shake 
hands.  First  one  and  then  another  of  the  con- 
spirators showed  up  cautiously — armed  to  the  teeth — 
took  in  the  amicable  situation,  then  ventured  warily- 
forward  and  joined  the  love-feast. 

And  to  Ed's  eager  inquiry  as  to  what  made  them 
act  as  they  had  been  acting,  they  answered  evasively 
and  pretended  that  they  had  put  it  up  as  a  joke,  to 
see  what  he  would  do.  It  was  the  best  explanation 
they  could  invent  at  such  short  notice.  And  each 
said  to  himself,  ''He  never  delivered  that  letter,  and 
the  joke  is  on  us,  if  he  only  knew  it  or  we  were  dull 
enough  to  come  out  and  tell." 

Then,  of  course,  they  wanted  to  know  all  about 
the  trip ;  and  he  said : 

"Come  right  up  on  the  boiler  deck  and  order  the 
drinks — it*s  my  treat.  I'm  going  to  tell  you  all 
about  it.  And  to-night  it's  my  treat  again — and 
we'll  have  oysters  and  a  time!" 

When  the  drinks  were  brought  and  cigars  lighted, 
Ed  said : 

"Well,  when  I  delivered  the  letter  to  Mr.  Van- 
derbilt— " 

"Great  Scott!" 

"Gracious,  how  you  scared  me.  What's  the 
matter?" 

'  *  Oh — er — nothing.  Nothing — it  was  a  tack  in  the 
chair-seat,"  said  one. 

*  *  But  you  all  said  it.  However,  no  matter.  When 
I  delivered  the  letter — " 

''Did  you  deliver  it?"    And  they  looked  at  each 

258 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

other  as  people  might  who  thought  that  maybe  they 
were  dreaming. 

Then  they  settled  to  listening;  and  as  the  story 
deepened  and  its  marvels  grew,  the  amazement  of  it 
made  them  dumb,  and  the  interest  of  it  took  their 
breath.  They  hardly  uttered  a  whisper  during  two 
hours,  but  sat  like  petrifactions  and  drank  in  the 
immortal  romance.  At  last  the  tale  was  ended,  and 
Ed  said : 

"And  it's  all  owing  to  you,  boys,  and  you'll  never 
find  me  imgrateful — bless  yoiu*  hearts,  the  best 
friends  a  fellow  ever  had!  You'll  all  have  places; 
I  want  every  one  of  you.  I  know  you — I  know  you 
'by  the  back,'  as  the  gamblers  say.  You're  jokers, 
and  all  that,  but  you're  sterling,  with  the  hallmark 
on.  And  Charley  Fairchild,  you  shall  be  my  first 
assistant  and  right  hand,  because  of  your  first-class 
ability,  and  because  you  got  me  the  letter,  and  for 
your  father's  sake  who  wrote  it  for  me,  and  to  please 
Mr.  Vanderbilt,  who  said  it  would!  And  here's  to 
that  great  man — drink  hearty!" 

Yes,  when  the  Moment  comes,  the  Man  appears — 
even  if  he  is  a  thousand  miles  away,  and  has  to  be 
discovered  by  a  practical  joke. 


CHAPTER  XXIX 

HOBART  IS  THE  NEATEST  TOWN 

When  people  do  not  respect  us  we  are  sharply  offended;   yet  deep  down  in  hia 
private  heart  no  man  much  respects  himself. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calettdar. 

NECESSARILY,  the  human  interest  is  the  first 
interest  in  the  log-book  of  any  country.  The 
annals  of  Tasmania,  in  whose  shadow  we  were  sail- 
ing, are  lurid  with  that  feature.  Tasmania  was  a 
convict-dump,  in  old  times;  this  has  been  indicated 
in  the  account  of  the  ConciHator,  where  reference 
is  made  to  vain  attempts  of  desperate  convicts  to 
win  to  permanent  freedom,  after  escaping  from 
Macquarrie  Harbor  and  the  "^ Gates  of  Hell."  In 
the  early  days  Tasmania  had  a  great  population  of 
convicts,  of  both  sexes  and  all  ages,  and  a  bitter  hard 
life  they  had.  In  one  spot  there  was  a  settlement 
of  juvenile  convicts — children — ^who  had  been  sent 
thither  from  their  home  and  their  friends  on  the 
other  side  of  the  globe  to  expiate  their  "crimes." 

In  due  course  our  ship  entered  the  estuary  called 
the  Derwent,  at  whose  head  stands  Hobart,  the  cap- 
ital of  Tasmania.  The  Derwent 's  shores  furnish 
scenery  of  an  interesting  sort.  The  historian  Laurie, 
whose  book.  The  Story  of  Australasia,  is  just  out, 
invoices  its  featin-es  with  considerable  truth  and 
intemperance:  "The  marvelous  picturesqueness  of 
every  point  of  view,  combined  with  the  clear  balmy 

260 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

atmosphere  and  the  transparency  of  the  ocean 
depths,  must  have  deHghted  and  deeply  impressed" 
the  early  explorers.  "If  the  rock-bound  coasts, 
sullen,  defiant,  and  lowering,  seemed  iminviting, 
these  were  occasionally  broken  into  charmingly 
alluring  coves  floored  with  golden  sand,  clad  with 
evergreen  shrubbery,  and  adorned  with  every  variety 
of  indigenous  wattle,  she-oak,  wild  flower,  and  fern, 
from  the  delicately  graceful  'maiden-hair'  to  the 
palm-like  'old  man';  while  the  majestic  gimi  tree, 
clean  and  smooth  as  the  mast  of  'some  tall  ammiral,* 
pierces  the  clear  air  to  the  height  of  two  hundred 
and  thirty  feet  or  more." 

It  looks  so  to  me.  "Coasting  along  Tasman*s 
Peninsiila,  what  a  shock  of  pleasant  wonder  must 
have  struck  the  early  mariner  on  suddenly  sighting 
Cape  Pillar,  with  its  cluster  of  black-ribbed  basaltic 
columns  rising  to  a  height  of  nine  hundred  feet,  the 
hydra  heads  wreathed  in  a  turban  of  fleecy  cloud, 
the  base  lashed  by  jealous  waves  spouting  angry 
fountains  of  foam." 

That  is  well  enough,  but  I  did  not  suppose  those 
snags  were  nine  himdred  feet  high.  Still  they  were 
a  very  fine  show.  They  stood  boldly  out  by  them- 
selves, and  made  a  fascinatingly  odd  spectacle.  But 
there  was  nothing  about  their  appearance  to  suggest 
the  heads  of  a  hydra.  They  looked  like  a  row  of  lofty 
slabs  with  their  upper  ends  tapered  to  the  shape  of 
a  carving-knife  point;  in  fact,  the  early  voyager, 
ignorant  of  their  great  height,  might  have  mistaken 
them  for  a  rusty  old  rank  of  piles  that  had  sagged 
this  way  and  that  out  of  the  perpendicular. 

261 


MARK    TWAIN 

The  Peninsula  is  lofty,  rock>%  and  densely  clothed 
with  scrub,  or  brush,  or  both.  It  is  joined  to  the 
main  by  a  low  neck.  At  this  junction  was  formerly 
a  convict  station  called  Port  Arthur — a  place  hard 
to  escape  from.  Behind  it  was  the  wilderness  of 
scrub,  in  which  a  fugitive  would  soon  starve;  in 
front  was  the  narrow  neck,  with  a  cordon  of  chained 
dogs  across  it,  and  a  line  of  lanterns,  and  a  fence  of 
Hving  guards,  armed.  We  saw  the  place  as  we 
swept  by — that  is,  we  had  a  glimpse  of  what  we 
were  told  was  the  entrance  to  Port  Arthur.  The 
glimpse  was  worth  something,  as  a  remembrancer, 
but  that  was  all. 

"The  voyage  thence  up  the  Derwent  Frith  dis- 
plays a  grand  succession  of  iairy  visions,  in  its  entire 
length  elsewhere  unequaled.  In  gliding  over  the 
deep  blue  sea  studded  with  lovely  islets  luxuriant  to 
the  water's  edge,  one  is  at  a  loss  which  scene  to 
choose  for  contemplation  and  to  admire  most.  When 
the  Huon  and  Bnmi  have  been  passed,  there  seems 
no  possible  chance  of  a  rival;  but  suddenly  Mount 
WelHngton,  massive  and  noble  Hke  his  brother 
Etna,  Hterally  heaves  in  sight,  sternly  guarded  on 
either  hand  by  T^Ioimts  Nelson  and  Rumney;  pres- 
ently we  arrive  at  Sullivan's  Cove — Hobart!" 

It  is  an  attractive  town.  It  sits  on  low  hiUs  that 
slope  to  the  harbor — a  harbor  that  looks  like  a  river, 
and  is  as  smooth  as  one.  Its  still  surface  is  pictured 
with  dainty  reflections  of  boats  and  grassy  banks  and 
luxuriant  foliage.  Back  of  the  town  rise  highlands 
that  are  clothed  in  woodland  loveliness,  and  over  the 
way  is  that  noble  moimtain,  Wellington,  a  stately 

262 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

bulk,  a  most  majestic  pile.  How  beautiful  is  the 
whole  region,  for  form,  and  grouping,  and  opulence, 
and  freshness  of  foliage,  and  variety  of  color,  and 
grace  and  shapeliness  of  the  hills,  the  capes,  the 
promontories;  and  then,  the  splendor  of  the  sun- 
light, the  dim  rich  distances,  the  charm  of  the  water- 
glimpses!  And  it  was  in  this  paradise  that  the 
yellow-Hveried  convicts  were  landed,  and  the  Corps- 
bandits  quartered,  and  the  wanton  slaughter  of  the 
kangaroo-chasing  black  innocents  consimimated  on 
that  autimm  day  in  May,  in  the  brutish  old  time. 
It  was  all  out  of  keeping  with  the  place,  a  sort  of 
bringing  of  heaven  and  hell  together. 

The  remembrance  of  this  paradise  reminds  me  that 
it  was  at  Hobart  that  we  struck  the  head  of  the  pro- 
cession of  Junior  Englands.  We  were  to  encounter 
other  sections  of  it  in  New  Zealand,  presently,  and 
others  later  in  Natal.  Wherever  the  exiled  EngHsh- 
man  can  find  in  his  new  home  resemblances  to  his 
old  one,  he  is  touched  to  the  marrow  of  his  being; 
the  love  that  is  in  his  heart  inspires  his  imagination, 
and  these  aUied  forces  transfigure  those  resemblances 
into  authentic  dupHcates  of  the  revered  originals. 
It  is  beautiful,  the  feehng  which  works  this  enchant- 
ment, and  it  compels  one's  homage;  compels  it,  and 
also  compels  one's  assent — compels  it  always — even 
when,  as  happens  sometimes,  one  does  not  see  the 
resemblances  as  clearly  as  does  the  exile  who  is 
pointing  them  out. 

The  resemblances  do  exist,  it  is  quite  true;  and 
often  they  cunningly  approximate  the  originals — 
but  after  all,  in  the  matter  of  certain  physical  patent 

263 


MARK     TWAIN 

rights  there  is  only  one  England.  Now  that  I  have 
sampled  the  globe,  I  am  not  in  doubt.  There  is  a 
beauty  of  Switzeriand,  and  it  is  repeated  in  the 
glaciers  and  snowy  ranges  of  many  parts  of  the 
earth ;  there  is  a  beauty  of  the  fiord,  and  it  is  repeated 
in  New  Zealand  and  Alaska;  there  is  a  beauty  of 
Hawaii,  and  it  is  repeated  in  ten  thousand  islands  of 
the  Southern  seas;  there  is  a  beauty  of  the  prairie 
and  the  plain,  and  it  is  repeated  here  and  there  in  the 
earth;  each  of  these  is  worshipful,  each  is  perfect  in 
its  way,  yet  holds  no  monopoly  of  its  beauty;  but 
that  beauty  which  is  England  is  alone — it  has  no 
duplicate.  It  is  made  up  of  very  simple  details — 
just  grass,  and  trees,  and  shrubs,  and  roads,  and 
hedges,  and  gardens,  and  houses,  and  vines,  and 
churches,  and  castles,  and  here  and  there  a  ruin — 
and  over  it  all  a  mellow  dream-haze  of  history.  But 
its  beauty  is  incomparable,  and  all  its  own. 

Hobart  has  a  peculiarity — it  is  the  neatest  town 
that  the  sim  shines  on;  and  I  incHne  to  believe 
that  it  is  also  the  cleanest.  However  that  may  be, 
its  supremacy  in  neatness  is  not  to  be  questioned. 
There  cannot  be  another  town  in  the  world  that  has 
no  shabby  exteriors;  no  rickety  gates  and  fences, 
no  neglected  houses  cnmibHng  to  ruin,  no  crazy 
and  tmsightly  sheds,  no  weed-grown  front  yards  of 
the  poor,  no  back  yards  Uttered  with  tin  cans  and 
old  boots  and  empty  bottles,  no  rubbish  in  the  gut- 
ters, no  clutter  on  the  sidewalks,  no  outer  borders 
fraying  out  into  dirty  lanes  and  tin-patched  huts. 
No,  in  Hobart  all  the  aspects  are  tidy,  and  all  a  com- 
fort to  the  eye ;  the  modestest  cottage  looks  combed 

264 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  brushed,  and  has  its  vines,  its  flowers,  its  neat 
fence,  its  neat  gate,  its  comely  cat  asleep  on  the 
window  ledge. 

We  had  a  gHmpse  of  the  museum,  by  courtesy  of 
the  American  gentleman  who  is  curator  of  it.  It 
has  samples  of  half  a  dozen  different  kinds  of  mar- 
supials^— one,  the  "Tasmanian  devil";  that  is,  I 
think  he  was  one  of  them.  And  there  was  a  fish 
with  lungs.  When  the  water  dries  up  it  can  live  in 
the  mud.  Most  ctuious  of  all  was  a  parrot  that 
kills  sheep.  On  one  great  sheep-rtm  this  bird  killed 
a  thousand  sheep  in  a  whole  year.  He  doesn't  want 
the  whole  sheep,  but  only  the  kidney-fat.  This 
restricted  taste  makes  him  an  expensive  bird  to 
support.  To  get  the  fat  he  drives  his  beak  in  and 
rips  it  out;  the  wound  is  mortal.  This  parrot  fur- 
nishes a  notable  example  of  evolution  brought  about 
by  changed  conditions.  When  the  sheep  culttue  was 
introduced,  it  presently  brought  famine  to  the  parrot 
by  exterminating  a  kind  of  grub  which  had  always 
hitherto  been  the  parrot's  diet.  The  miseries  of 
hunger  made  the  bird  willing  to  eat  raw  flesh,  since 
it  could  get  no  other  food,  and  it  began  to  pick 
remnants  of  meat  from  sheep-skins  hung  out  on  the 
fences  to  dry.  It  soon  came  to  prefer  sheep  meat 
to  any  other  food,  and  by  and  by  it  came  to  prefer 

^A  marsupial  is  a  plantigrade  vertebrate  whose  specialty  is  its 
pocket.  In  some  coimtries  it  is  extinct,  in  the  others  it  is  rare. 
The  first  American  marsupials  were  Stephen  Girard,  Mr.  Astor,  and 
the  opossum;  the  principal  marsupials  of  the  Southern  Hemi- 
sphere are  Mr.  Rhodes  and  the  kangaroo.  I,  myself,  am  the  latest 
marsupial.  Also,  I  might  boast  that  I  have  the  largest  pocket  of 
them  all.     But  there  is  nothing  in  that. 

265 


MARK     TWAIN 

the  kidney -fat  to  any  other  detail  of  the  sheep.  The 
parrot's  bill  was  not  well  shaped  for  digging  out  the 
fat,  but  Nature  fixed  that  matter;  she  altered  the 
bill's  shape,  and  now  the  parrot  can  dig  out  kidney- 
fat  better  than  the  Chief  Justice  of  the  Supreme 
Court,  or  anybody  else,  for  that  matter — even  an 
Admiral. 

And  there  was  another  curiosity — quite  a  stunning 
one,  I  thought:  Arrow-heads  and  knives  just  like 
those  which  Primeval  Man  made  out  of  flint,  and 
thought  he  had  done  such  a  wonderful  thing — yes, 
and  has  been  humored  and  coddled  in  that  super- 
stition by  this  age  of  admiring  scientists  imtil  there 
is  probably  no  living  with  him  in  the  other  world  by 
now.  Yet  here  is  his  finest  and  nicest  work  exactly 
duplicated  in  oiu"  day ;  and  by  people  who  have  never 
heard  of  him  or  his  works:  by  aborigines  who  lived 
in  the  islands  of  these  seas,  within  our  time.  And 
they  not  only  dupUcated  those  works  of  art  but  did 
it  in  the  brittlest  and  most  treacherous  of  substances 
— glass:  made  them  out  of  old  brandy  bottles  flung 
out  of  the  British  camps;  millions  of  tons  of  them. 
It  is  time  for  Primeval  Man  to  make  a  little  less 
noise,  now.  He  has  had  his  day.  He  is  not  what 
he  used  to  be. 

We  had  a  drive  through  a  bloomy  and  odorous 
fairy-land,  to  the  Refuge  for  the  Indigent — a  spa- 
cious and  comfortable  home,  with  hospitals,  etc., 
for  both  sexes.  There  was  a  crowd  there,  of  the 
oldest  people  I  have  ever  seen.  It  was  like  being 
suddenly  set  down  in  a  new  world — a  weird  world 
where  Youth  has  never  been,  a  world  sacred  to  Age, 

266 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  bowed  forms,  and  wrinkles.  Out  of  the  359 
persons  present,  223  were  ex-convicts,  and  could  have 
told  stirring  tales,  no  doubt,  if  they  had  been  minded 
to  talk;  42  of  the  359  were  past  80,  and  several  were 
close  upon  90;  the  average  age  at  death  there  is  76 
years.  As  for  me,  I  have  no  use  for  that  place;  it 
is  too  healthy.  Seventy  is  old  enough — after  that, 
there  is  too  much  risk.  Youth  and  gaiety  might 
vanish,  any  day — and  then,  what  is  left?  Death  in 
life;  death  without  its  privileges,  death  without  its 
benefits.  There  were  185  women  in  that  Refuge, 
and  81  of  them  were  ex-convicts. 

The  steamer  disappointed  us.  Instead  of  making 
a  long  visit  at  Hobart,  as  usual,  she  made  a  short 
one.  So  we  got  but  a  glimpse  of  Tasmania,  and  then 
moved  on. 


CHAPTER  XXX 

nature's  cruelty  to  the  wooden  caterpillar 

Nature  makes  the  locust  with  an  appetite  for  crops;    man  would  have  made 
him  with  an  appetite  for  sand. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  CaUndar. 

WE  spent  part  of  an  afternoon  and  a  night  at 
sea,  and  reached  Bluff,  in  New  Zealand,  early 
in  the  morning.  Bluff  is  at  the  bottom  of  the  middle 
island,  and  is  away  down  south,  nearly  forty-seven 
degrees  below  the  equator.  It  lies  as  far  south  of 
the  line  as  Quebec  lies  north  of  it,  and  the  climates  of 
the  two  should  be  alike;  but  for  some  reason  or  other 
it  has  not  been  so  arranged.  Quebec  is  hot  in  the 
simimer  and  cold  in  the  winter,  but  Bluff's  climate 
is  less  intense;  the  cold  weather  is  not  very  cold, 
the  hot  weather  is  not  very  hot;  and  the  difference 
between  the  hottest  month  and  the  coldest  is  but 
seventeen  degrees  Fahrenheit. 

In  New  Zealand  the  rabbit  plague  began  at  Bluff. 
The  man  who  introduced  the  rabbit  there  was  ban- 
queted and  lauded;  but  they  would  hang  him,  now, 
if  they  could  get  him.  In  England  the  natural 
enemy  of  the  rabbit  is  detested  and  persecuted;  in 
the  Bluff  region  the  natural  enemy  of  the  rabbit  is 
honored,  and  his  person  is  sacred.  The  rabbit's 
natural  enemy  in  England  is  the  poacher;  in  Bluff 
its  natural  enemy  is  the  stoat,  the  weasel,  the  ferret, 
the  cat,  and  the  mongoose.    In  England  any  person 

268 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

below  the  Heir  who  is  caught  with  a  rabbit  in  his 
possession  must  satisfactorily  explain  how  it  got 
there,  or  he  will  suffer  fine  and  imprisonment,  to- 
gether with  extinction  of  his  peerage;  in  Bluff,  the 
cat  fotmd  with  a  rabbit  in  its  possession  does  not 
have  to  explain — everybody  looks  the  other  way; 
the  person  caught  noticing  would  suffer  fine  and 
imprisonment,  with  extinction  of  peerage.  This  is  a 
sure  way  to  undermine  the  moral  fabric  of  a  cat. 
Thirty  years  from  now  there  will  not  be  a  moral  cat 
in  New  Zealand.  Some  think  there  is  none  there 
now.  In  England  the  poacher  is  watched,  tracked, 
hunted — he  dare  not  show  his  face ;  in  Bluff  the  cat, 
the  weasel,  the  stoat,  and  the  mongoose  go  up  and 
down,  whither  they  will,  unmolested.  By  a  law  of 
the  legislattire,  posted  where  all  may  read,  it  is 
decreed  that  any  person  foimd  in  possession  of  one  of 
these  creatures  (dead)  must  satisfactorily  explain  the 
circimistances  or  pay  a  fine  of  not  less  than  five 
pounds,  nor  more  than  twenty  potmds.  The  revenue 
from  this  soiu-ce  is  not  large.  Persons  who  want  to 
pay  a  himdred  dollars  for  a  dead  cat  are  getting 
rarer  and  rarer  every  day.  This  is  bad,  for  the  reve- 
nue was  to  go  to  the  endowment  of  a  university. 
All  governments  are  more  or  less  short-sighted:  in 
England  they  fine  a  poacher,  whereas  he  ought  to  be 
banished  to  New  Zealand.  New  Zealand  would  pay 
his  way,  and  give  him  wages. 

It  was  from  Bluff  that  we  ought  to  have  cut  across 
to  the  west  coast  and  visited  the  New  Zealand 
Switzerland,  a  land  of  superb  scenery,  made  up  of 
snowy  grandeurs,  and  mighty  glaciers,  and  beautiful 

269 


MARK     TWAIN 

lakes;  and  over  there,  also,  are  the  wonderful  rivals 
of  the  Norwegian  and  Alaskan  fiords ;  and  for  neigh- 
bor, a  waterfall  of  nineteen  hundred  feet;  but  we 
were  obliged  to  postpone  the  trip  to  some  later  and 
indefinite  time. 

November  6.  A  lovely  summer  morning;  brilliant 
blue  sky.  A  few  miles  out  from  Invercargill,  passed 
through  vast  level  green  expanses  snowed  over  with 
sheep.  Fine  to  see.  The  green,  deep  and  very 
vivid  sometimes;  at  other  times  less  so,  but  delicate 
and  lovely.  A  passenger  reminds  me  that  I  am  in 
"the  England  of  the  Far  South." 

Dunedin,  same  date.  The  town  justifies  Michael 
Davitt's  praises.  The  people  are  Scotch.  They 
stopped  here  on  their  way  from  home  to  heaven — 
thinking  they  had  arrived.  The  population  is  stated 
at  forty  thousand,  by  Malcolm  Ross,  journalist ;  stated 
by  an  M.  P.  at  sixty  thousand.    A  journalist  cannot  lie. 

To  the  residence  of  Dr.  Hockin.  He  has  a  fine 
collection  of  books  relating  to  New  Zealand;  and 
his  house  is  a  museum  of  Maori  art  and  antiquities. 
He  has  pictures  and  prints  in  color  of  many  native 
chiefs  of  the  past — some  of  them  of  note  in  history. 
There  is  nothing  of  the  savage  in  the  faces;  nothing 
could  be  finer  than  these  men's  features,  nothing 
more  intellectual  than  these  faces,  nothing  more 
masculine,  nothing  nobler  than  their  aspect.  The 
aboriginals  of  Australia  and  Tasmania  looked  the 
savage,  but  these  chiefs  looked  like  Roman  patricians. 
The  tattooing  in  these  portraits  ought  to  suggest 
the  savage,  of  course,  but  it  does  not.  The  designs 
are  so  flowing  and  graceful  and  beautiful  that  they 

270 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

are  a  most  satisfactory  decoration.  It  takes  but 
fifteen  minutes  to  get  reconciled  to  the  tattooing, 
and  but  fifteen  more  to  perceive  that  it  is  just  the 
thing.  After  that,  the  undecorated  Eiu^opean  face 
is  unpleasant  and  ignoble. 

Dr.  Hockin  gave  us  a  ghastly  ciuiosity — a  ligni- 
fied  caterpillar  with  a  plant  growing  out  of  the  back 
of  its  neck — a  plant  with  a  slender  stem  four  inches 
high.  It  happened  not  by  accident,  but  by  design — 
Nature's  design.  This  caterpillar  was  in  the  act  of 
loyally  carrying  out  a  law  inflicted  upon  him  by 
Nature — a  law  purposely  inflicted  upon  him  to  get 
him  into  trouble — a  law  which  was  a  trap;  in  pur- 
suance of  this  law  he  made  the  proper  preparations 
for  turning  himself  into  a  night-moth ;  that  is  to  say, 
he  dug  a  little  trench,  a  little  grave,  and  then 
stretched  himself  out  in  it  on  his  stomach  and  par- 
tially buried  himself — then  Nature  was  ready  for 
him.  She  blew  the  spores  of  a  peculiar  fungus 
through  the  air — with  a  piupose.  Some  of  them  fell 
into  a  crease  in  the  back  of  the  caterpillar's  neck, 
and  began  to  sprout  and  grow — for  there  was  soil 
there — he  had  not  washed  his  neck.  The  roots 
forced  themselves  down  into  the  worm's  person,  and 
rearward  along  through  its  body,  sucking  up  the 
creature's  juices  for  sap ;  the  worm  slowly  died,  and 
turned  to  wood.  And  here  he  was  now,  a  wooden 
caterpillar,  with  every  detail  of  his  former  physique 
delicately  and  exactly  preserved  and  perpetuated, 
and  with  that  stem  standing  up  out  of  him  for  his 
monument — monument  commemorative  of  his  own 
loyalty  and  of  Nature's  unfair  return  for  it. 

271 


MARK     TWAIN 

Nature  is  always  acting  like  that.  Mrs.  X  said 
(of  course)  that  the  caterpillar  was  not  conscious 
and  didn't  suffer.  She  should  have  known  better. 
No  caterpillar  can  deceive  Nature.  If  this  one 
couldn't  suffer,  Nature  would  have  known  it  and 
would  have  hunted  up  another  caterpillar.  Not  that 
she  would  have  let  this  one  go,  merely  because  it 
was  defective.  No.  She  would  have  waited  and  let 
him  turn  into  a  night-moth;  and  then  fried  him  in 
the  candle. 

Nature  cakes  a  fish's  eyes  over  with  parasites,  so 
that  it  sha'n't  be  able  to  avoid  its  enemies  or  find  its 
food.  She  sends  parasites  into  a  starfish's  system, 
which  clog  up  its  prongs  and  swell  them  and  make 
them  so  uncomfortable  that  the  poor  creature  de- 
livers itself  from  the  prong  to  ease  its  misery;  and 
presently  it  has  to  part  with  another  prong  for  the 
sake  of  comfort,  and  finally  with  a  third.  If  it 
regrows  the  prongs,  the  parasite  returns  and  the 
same  thing  is  repeated.  And  finally,  when  the  ability 
to  reproduce  prongs  is  lost  through  age,  that  poor 
old  starfish  can't  get  aroimd  any  more,  and  so  it 
dies  of  starvation. 

In  Australia  is  prevalent  a  horrible  disease  due  to 
an  "imperfected  tape- worm."  Unperfected — that 
is  what  they  call  it,  I  do  not  know  why,  for  it  trans- 
acts business  just  as  well  as  if  it  were  finished  and 
frescoed  and  gilded,  and  all  that. 

November  p.  To  the  museum  and  public  picture- 
gallery  with  the  president  of  the  Society  of  Artists. 
Some  fine  pictures  there,  lent  by  the  S.  of  A. — 
several  of  them  they  bought,  the  others  came  to  them 

272 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

by  gift.  Next,  to  the  gallery  of  the  S.  of  A. — 
annual  exhibition — just  opened.  Fine.  Think  of  a 
town  like  this  having  two  such  collections  as  this, 
and  a  Society  of  Artists.  It  is  so  all  over  Australasia. 
If  it  were  a  monarchy  one  might  imderstand  it. 
I  mean  an  absolute  monarchy,  where  it  isn't  neces- 
sary to  vote  money,  but  take  it.  Then  art  flourishes. 
But  these  colonies  are  republics — republics  with  a 
wide  suffrage;  voters  of  both  sexes,  this  one  of 
New  Zealand.  In  republics,  neither  the  government 
nor  the  rich  private  citizen  is  much  given  to  propa- 
gating art.  All  over  Australasia  pictures  by  famous 
European  artists  are  bought  for  the  public  galleries 
by  the  state  and  by  societies  of  citizens.  Living 
citizens — not  dead  ones.  They  rob  themselves  to 
give,  not  their  heirs.  This  S.  of  A.  here  owns  its 
building — built  it  by  subscription. 


CHAPTER  XXXI 

"a  hell  of  a  hotel  at  Maryborough" 

The  spirit  of  wrath — not  the  words — is  the  sin;  and  the  spirit  of  wrath  is  ctirs- 
Ing.     We  begin  to  swear  before  we  can  talk. 

— Pudd'nfuod  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

'KJOVEMBER  ii.  On  the  road.  This  train— 
Ji  V  express — goes  twenty  and  one-half  miles  an 
hour,  schedule  time;  but  it  is  fast  enough,  the  out- 
look upon  sea  and  land  is  so  interesting,  and  the  cars 
so  comfortable.  They  are  not  English,  and  not 
American;  they  are  the  Swiss  combination  of  the 
two.  A  narrow  and  railed  porch  along  the  side, 
where  a  person  can  walk  up  and  down.  A  lavatory 
in  each  car.  This  is  progress;  this  is  nineteenth- 
century  spirit.  In  New  Zealand,  these  fast  expresses 
run  twice  a  week.  It  is  well  to  know  this  if  you 
want  to  be  a  bird  and  fly  through  the  coimtry  at  a 
twenty-mile  gait;  otherwise  you  may  start  on  one 
of  the  five  wrong  days,  and  then  you  will  get  a  train 
that  can't  overtake  its  own  shadow. 

By  contrast,  these  pleasant  cars  call  to  mind  the 
branch-road  cars  at  Maryborough,  Australia,  and 
a  passenger's  talk  about  the  branch-road  and  the 
hotel. 

Somewhere  on  the  road  to  Maryborough  I  changed 
for  a  while  to  a  smoking-carriage.  There  were  two 
gentlemen  there;  both  riding  backward,  one  at  each 
end  of  the  compartment.    They  were  acquaintances 

274 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

of  each  other.  I  sat  down  facing  the  one  that  sat  at 
the  starboard  window.  He  had  a  good  face,  and  a 
friendly  look,  and  I  judged  from  his  dress  that  he 
was  a  dissenting  minister.  He  was  along  toward 
fifty.  Of  his  own  motion  he  struck  a  match,  and 
shaded  it  with  his  hand  for  me  to  light  my  cigar.  I 
take  the  rest  from  my  diary: 

In  order  to  start  conversation  I  asked  him  some- 
thing about  Maryborough.  He  said,  in  a  most 
pleasant — even  musical — voice,  but  with  quiet  and 
cultured  decision: 

"It's  a  charming  town,  with  a  hell  of  a  hotel." 

I  was  astonished.  It  seemed  so  odd  to  hear  a 
minister  swear  out  loud.     He  went  placidly  on: 

"It's  the  worst  hotel  in  Australia.  Well,  one  may 
go  further,  and  say  in  Australasia." 

"Bad  beds?" 

"No — none  at  all.     Just  sand-bags." 

"ThepiUows,  too?" 

"Yes,  the  pillows,  too.  Just  sand.  And  not  a 
good  quality  of  sand.  It  packs  too  hard,  and  has 
never  been  screened.  There  is  too  much  gravel  in  it. 
It  is  like  sleeping  on  nuts." 

"Isn't  there  any  good  sand?" 

"Plenty  of  it.  There  is  as  good  bed-sand  in  this 
region  as  the  world  can  furnish.  Aerated  sand — 
and  loose;  but  they  won't  buy  it.  They  want 
something  that  will  pack  solid,  and  petrify." 

"How  are  the  rooms?" 

"Eight  feet  square;  and  a  sheet  of  iced  oil-cloth 
to  step  on  in  the  morning  when  you  get  out  of  the 
sand-quarry." 

275 


MARK     TWAIN 

"As  to  Hghts?*' 

"Coal-oil  lamp/' 

"A  good  one?" 

"No.    It's  the  kind  that  sheds  a  gloom." 

"I  like  a  lamp  that  bums  all  night." 

"This  one  won't.    You  must  blow  it  out  early." 

"That  is  bad.  One  might  want  it  again  in  the 
night.    Can't  find  it  in  the  dark." 

* '  There's  no  trouble ;  you  can  find  it  by  the  stench. ' ' 

"Wardrobe?" 

"Two  nails  on  the  door  to  hang  seven  suits  of 
clothes  on — if  you've  got  them." 

"Bells?" 

"There  aren't  any." 

"What  do  you  do  when  you  want  service?" 

"Shout.    But  it  won't  fetch  anybody." 

"Suppose  you  want  the  chambermaid  to  empty 
the  slop-jar?" 

"There  isn't  any  slop-jar.  The  hotels  don't  keep 
them.    That  is,  outside  of  Sydney  and  Melbourne." 

"Yes,  I  knew  that.  I  was  only  talking.  It's  the 
oddest  thing  in  AustraHa.  Another  thing:  IVe  got 
to  get  up  in  the  dark,  in  the  morning,  to  take  the 
five-o'clock  train.    Now  if  the  boots — " 

"There  isn't  any." 

"Well,  the  porter." 

"There  isn't  any." 

"But  who  will  call  met  - 

"Nobody.  You'll  call  yourself .  And  you'll  light 
yourself,  too.  There'll  not  be  a  light  burning  in  the 
halls  or  anywhere.  And  if  you  don't  carry  a  light, 
you'll  break  yovir  neck." 

276 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

**But  who  will  help  me  down  with  my  baggage?'* 

"Nobody.  However,  I  will  tell  you  what  to  do. 
In  Maryborough  there's  an  American  who  has  lived 
there  half  a  lifetime;  a  fine  man,  and  prosperous 
and  popular.  He  will  be  on  the  lookout  for  you; 
you  won't  have  any  trouble.  Sleep  in  peace;  he 
will  rout  you  out,  and  you  will  make  your  train. 
Where  is  your  manager?" 

*  *  I  left  him  at  Ballarat,  studying  the  language. 
And  besides,  he  had  to  go  to  Melbourne  and  get  us 
ready  for  New  Zealand.  I've  not  tried  to  pilot  my- 
self before,  and  it  doesn't  look  easy." 

"Easy!  You've  selected  the  very  most  difficult 
piece  of  railroad  in  AustraHa  for  your  experiment. 
There  are  twelve  miles  of  this  road  which  no  man 
without  good  executive  ability  can  ever  hope — tell 
me,  have  you  good  executive  ability? — ^first-rate  ex- 
ecutive abihty?" 

"I— well,  I  think  so,  but—" 

"That  settles  it.  The  tone  of — oh,  you  wouldn't 
ever  make  it  in  the  world.  However,  that  American 
will  point  you  right,  and  you'll  go.  You've  got 
tickets?" 

"Yes — round  trip;   all  the  way  to  Sydney.'* 

"Ah,  there  it  is,  you  see!  You  are  going  in  the 
five  o'clock  by  Castlemaine — twelve  miles — instead 
of  the  seven-fifteen  by  Ballarat — in  order  to  save  two 
hours  of  fooHng  along  the  road.  Now  then,  don't 
interrupt — let  me  have  the  floor.  You're  going  to 
save  the  government  a  deal  of  hauling,  but  that's 
nothing;  your  ticket  is  by  Ballarat,  and  it  isn't  good 
over  that  twelve  miles,  and  so — " 

277 


MARK     TWAIN 

"But  why  should  the  government  care  which  way 
I  go?" 

"Goodness  knows!  Ask  of  the  winds  that  far 
away  with  fragments  strewed  the  sea,  as  the  boy  that 
stood  on  the  burning  deck  used  to  say.  The  govern- 
ment chooses  to  do  its  railway  business  in  its  own 
way,  and  it  doesn't  know  as  much  about  it  as  the 
French.  In  the  beginning  they  tried  idiots;  then 
they  imported  the  French — which  was  going  back- 
ward, you  see;  now  it  runs  the  roads  itself — which 
is  going  backv^^ard  again,  you  see.  Why,  do  you 
know,  in  order  to  curry  favor  with  the  voters,  the 
government  puts  down  a  road  wherever  anybody 
wants  it — anybody  that  owns  two  sheep  and  a  dog; 
and  by  consequence  we've  got,  in  the  colony  of  Vic- 
toria, eight  hundred  railway-stations,  and  the  busi- 
ness done  at  eighty  of  them  doesn't  foot  up  twenty 
shillings  a  week." 

' ' Five  dollars  ?     Oh,  come !" 

*'It's  true.    It's  the  absolute  truth." 

"Why,  there  are  three  or  four  men  on  wages  at 
every  station." 

"I  know  it.  And  the  station  business  doesn't  pay 
for  the  sheep-dip  to  sanctify  their  coffee  with.  It's 
just  as  I  say.  And  accommodating?  Why,  if  you 
shake  a  rag  the  train  will  stop  in  the  midst  of  the 
wilderness  to  pick  you  up.  All  that  kind  of  politics 
costs,  you  see.  And  then,  besides,  any  town  that 
has  a  good  many  votes  and  wants  a  fine  station,  gets 
it.  Don't  you  overlook  that  Maryborough  station, 
if  you  take  an  interest  in  governmental  curiosities. 
Why,  you  can  put  the  whole  population  of  Mary- 

278 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

borough  into  it,  and  give  them  a  sofa  apiece,  and 
have  room  for  more.  You  haven't  fifteen  stations 
in  America  that  are  as  big,  and  you  probably  haven't 
five  that  are  half  as  fine.  Why,  it's  perfectly  elegant. 
And  the  clock !  Everybody  will  show  you  the  clock. 
There  isn't  a  station  in  Europe  that's  got  such  a 
clock.  It  doesn't  strike — and  that's  one  mercy.  It 
hasn't  any  bell;  and  as  you'll  have  cause  to  remem- 
ber, if  you  keep  your  reason,  all  Australia  is  simply 
bedamned  with  bells.  On  every  quarter-hour,  night 
and  day,  they  jingle  a  tiresome  chime  of  half  a  dozen 
notes — all  the  clocks  in  town  at  once,  all  the  clocks 
in  Australasia  at  once,  and  all  the  very  same  notes; 
first,  downward  scale:  mi,  re,  do,  sol — then  upward 
scale:  sol,  si,  re,  do — down  again:  mi,  re,  do,  sol — 
up  again:  sol,  si,  re,  do — then  the  clock — say  at 
midnight :  clang  —  clang  —  clang  —  clang  —  clang  — 
clang — clang — clang — clang — clang — clang — clang! — 
and,  by  that  time  you're — hello,  what's  all  this 
excitement  about?  Oh,  I  see — a  runaway — scared 
by  the  train;  why,  you  wouldn't  think  this  train 
could  scare  anything.  Well,  of  course,  when  they 
build  and  run  eighty  stations  at  a  loss,  and  a  lot  of 
palace-stations  and  clocks  like  Maryborough's  at 
another  loss,  the  government  has  got  to  economize 
somewhere,  hasn't  it?  Very  well — look  at  the  roll- 
ing stock!  That's  where  they  save  the  money. 
Why,  that  train  from  Maryborough  will  consist  of 
eighteen  freight -cars  and  two  passenger  -  kennels ; 
cheap,  poor,  shabby,  slovenly;  no  drinking-water, 
no  sanitary  arrangements,  every  imaginable  incon- 
venience;  and  slow? — oh,  the  gait  of  cold  molasses; 

279 


MARK  TWAIN 

no  air-brake,  no  springs,  and  they'll  jolt  your  head 
off  every  time  they  start  or  stop.  That's  where  they 
make  their  little  economies,  you  see.  They  spend 
tons  of  money  to  house  you  palatially  while  you  wait 
fifteen  minutes  for  a  train,  then  degrade  you  to  six 
hours'  convict-transportation  to  get  the  foolish  out- 
lay back.  What  a  rational  man  really  needs  is 
discomfort  while  he's  waiting,  then  his  joiuney  in  a 
nice  train  would  be  a  grateful  change.  But  no,  that 
would  be  common  sense — and  out  of  place  in  a 
government.  And  then,  besides,  they  save  in  that 
other  little  detail,  you  know — repudiate  their  own 
tickets,  and  collect  a  poor  little  illegitimate  extra 
shilling  out  of  you  for  that  twelve  miles,  and — " 

"Well,  in  any  case—" 

"Wait — there's  more.  Leave  that  American  out 
of  the  account  and  see  what  would  happen.  There's 
nobody  on  hand  to  examine  your  ticket  when  you 
arrive.  But  the  conductor  will  come  and  examine  it 
when  the  train  is  ready  to  start.  It  is  too  late  to  buy 
your  extra  ticket  now;  the  train  can't  wait,  and 
won't.     You  must  climb  out." 

"But  can't  I  pay  the  conductor?" 

"No,  he  is  not  authorized  to  receive  the  money, 
and  he  won't.  You  must  climb  out.  There's  no 
other  way.  I  tell  you,  the  railway  management  is 
about  the  only  thoroughly  European  thing  here — 
continentally  European  I  mean,  not  English.  It's  the 
continental  business  in  perfection ;  down  j^w^.  Oh,  yes, 
even  to  the  peanut-commerce  of  weighing  baggage." 

The  train  slowed  up  at  his  place.  As  he  stepped 
out  he  said : 

280 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

"Yes,  you'll  like  Maryborough.  Plenty  of  intel- 
ligence there.  It's  a  charming  place — with  a  hell 
of  a  hotel." 

Then  he  was  gone.  I  turned  to  the  other  gentle- 
man: 

"Is  your  friend  in  the  ministry?" 

"No — studying  for  it/* 


CHAPTER  XXXII 

HOW  WOMEN  HELP  RULE  NEW  ZEALAND 

The  man  with  a  new  idea  is  a  Crank  until  the  idea  succeeds. 

— Pudd'tihead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

IT  was  Junior  England  all  the  way  to  Christchurch 
— ^in  fact,  just  a  garden.  And  Christchurch  is 
an  English  town,  with  an  English-park  annex,  and  a 
vending  EngHsh  brook  just  like  the  Avon — and 
named  the  Avon;  but  from  a  man,  not  from  Shake- 
speare's river.  Its  grassy  banks  are  bordered  by  the 
stateliest  and  most  impressive  weeping  willows  to  be 
found  in  the  world,  I  suppose.  They  continue  the 
line  of  a  great  ancestor;  they  were  grown  from 
sprouts  of  the  willow  that  sheltered  Napoleon's  grave 
in  St.  Helena.  It  is  a  settled  old  community,  with 
all  the  serenities,  the  graces,  the  conveniences,  and 
the  comforts  of  the  ideal  home-life.  If  it  had  an 
established  Church  and  social  inequality  it  would  be 
England  over  again  with  hardly  a  lack. 

In  the  museum  we  saw  many  curious  and  interest- 
ing things;  among  others  a  fine  native  house  of  the 
olden  time,  with  all  the  details  true  to  the  facts,  and 
the  showy  colors  right  and  in  their  proper  places. 
All  the  details:  the  fine  mats  and  rugs  and  things; 
the  elaborate  and  wonderful  wood-carvings — ^won- 
derful, surely,  considering  who  did  them — wonderful 
in  design  and  particularly  in  execution,  for  they 

282 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

were  done  with  admirable  sharpness  and  exactness, 
and  yet  with  no  better  tools  than  flint  and  jade  and 
shell  could  furnish;  and  the  totem-posts  were  there, 
ancestor  above  ancestor,  with  tongues  protruded  and 
hands  clasped  comfortably  over  bellies  containing 
other  people's  ancestors — ^grotesque  and  ugly  devils, 
every  one,  but  lovingly  carved,  and  ably;  and  the 
stuffed  natives  were  present,  in  their  proper  places, 
and  looking  as  natural  as  life;  and  the  housekeeping 
utensils  w^ere  there,  too,  and  close  at  hand  the 
carved  and  finely  ornamented  war-canoe. 

And  we  saw  little  jade  gods,  to  hang  aroimd  the 
neck — not  everybody's,  but  sacred  to  the  necks  of 
natives  of  rank.  Also  jade  weapons,  and  many 
kinds  of  jade  trinkets — all  made  out  of  that  exces- 
sively hard  stone  without  the  help  of  any  tool  of  iron. 
And  some  of  these  things  had  small  round  holes 
bored  through  them — ^nobody  knows  how  it  was 
done;  a  mystery'-,  a  lost  art.  I  think  it  was  said 
that  if  you  want  such  a  hole  bored  in  a  piece  of  jade 
now,  you  must  send  it  to  London  or  Amsterdam 
where  the  lapidaries  are. 

Also  we  saw  a  complete  skeleton  of  the  giant  Moa. 
It  stood  ten  feet  high,  and  must  have  been  a  sight  to 
look  at  when  it  was  a  living  bird.  It  was  a  kicker, 
like  the  ostrich ;  in  fight  it  did  not  use  its  beak,  but 
its  foot.  It  must  have  been  a  convincing  kind  of 
kick.  If  a  person  had  his  back  to  the  bird  and  did 
not  see  who  it  was  that  did  it,  he  would  think  he 
had  been  kicked  by  a  wind-mill. 

There  must  have  been  a  sufficiency  of  moas  in  the 
old  forgotten  days  when  his  breed  walked  the  earth. 

283 


MARK     TWAIN 

His  bones  are  found  in  vast  masses,  all  crammed 
together  in  huge  graves.  They  are  not  in  caves, 
but  in  the  ground.  Nobody  knows  how  they  hap- 
pened to  get  concentrated  there.  Mind,  they  are 
bones,  not  fossils.  This  means  that  the  moa  has  not 
been  extinct  very  long.  Still,  this  is  the  only  New 
Zealand  creature  which  has  no  mention  in  that  other- 
wise comprehensive  literature,  the  native  legends. 
This  is  a  significant  detail,  and  is  good  circimistan- 
tial  evidence  that  the  moa  has  been  extinct  five 
hundred  years,  since  the  Maori  has  himself — ^by 
tradition — been  in  New  Zealand  since  the  end  of 
the  fifteenth  century.  He  came  from  an  tmknown 
land — the  first  Maori  did — then  sailed  back  in  a 
canoe  and  brought  his  tribe,  and  they  removed  the 
aboriginal  peoples  into  the  sea  and  into  the  groimd 
and  took  the  land.  That  is  the  tradition.  That 
that  first  Maori  could  come  is  understandable,  for 
anybody  can  come  to  a  place  when  he  isn't  trying 
to;  but  how  that  discoverer  found  his  way  back 
home  again  without  a  compass  is  his  secret,  and  he 
died  with  it  in  him.  His  language  indicates  that  he 
came  from  Polynesia.  He  told  where  he  came  from, 
but  he  couldn't  spell  well,  so  one  can't  find  the 
place  on  the  map,  because  people  who  could  spell 
better  than  he  could  spelled  the  resemblance  all  out 
of  it  when  they  made  the  map.  However,  it  is 
better  to  have  a  map  that  is  spelled  right  than  one 
that  has  information  in  it. 

In  New  Zealand  women  have  the  right  to  vote  for 
members  of  the  legislature,  but  they  cannot  be 
members  themselves.     The  law  extending  the  siif- 

284 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

frage  to  them  went  into  effect  in  1893.  The  popu- 
lation of  Christ  church  (census  of  1891)  was  31,454. 
The  first  election  under  the  law  was  held  in  November 
of  that  year.  Number  of  men  who  voted,  6,313; 
number  of  women  who  voted,  5,989.  These  figures 
ought  to  convince  us  that  women  are  not  as  indiffer- 
ent about  politics  as  some  people  would  have  us 
believe.  In  New  Zealand  as  a  whole,  the  estimated 
adult  female  population  was  139,915;  of  those 
109,461  qualified  and  registered  their  names  on  the 
rolls — 78.23  per  cent,  of  the  whole.  Of  these, 
90,290  went  to  the  polls  and  voted — 85.18  per  cent. 
Do  men  ever  turn  out  better  than  that — in  America 
or  elsewhere?  Here  is  a  remark  to  the  other  sex's 
credit,  too — I  take  it  from  the  official  report: 

"A  feature  of  the  election  was  the  orderliness  and 
sobriety  of  the  people.  Women  were  in  no  way 
molested." 

At  home,  a  standing  argimient  against  woman 
suffrage  has  always  been  that  women  could  not  go  to 
the  polls  without  being  insulted.  The  arguments 
against  woman  suffrage  have  always  taken  the  easy 
form  of  prophecy.  The  prophets  have  been  prophe- 
sying ever  since  the  woman's  rights  movement  began 
in  1848 — and  in  forty-seven  years  they  have  never 
scored  a  hit. 

Men  ought  to  begin  to  feel  a  sort  of  respect  for 
their  mothers  and  wives  and  sisters  by  this  time. 
The  women  deserve  a  change  of  attitude  like  that, 
for  they  have  wrought  well.  In  forty-seven  years 
they  have  swept  an  imposingly  large  number  of 
imfair  laws  from  the  statute-books  of  America.     In 

285 


MARK     TWAIN 

that  brief  time  these  serfs  have  set  themselves  free 
— essentially.  Men  could  not  have  done  so  much 
for  themselves  in  that  time  without  bloodshed — at 
least  they  never  have;  and  that  is  argument  that 
they  didn't  know  how.  The  women  have  accom- 
plished a  peaceful  revolution,  and  a  very  beneficent 
one;  and  yet  that  has  not  convinced  the  average 
man  that  they  are  intelligent,  and  have  courage  and 
energy  and  perseverance  and  fortitude.  It  takes 
much  to  convince  the  average  man  of  anything ;  and 
perhaps  nothing  can  ever  make  him  realize  that  he 
is  the  average  woman's  inferior — yet  in  several  im- 
portant details  the  evidence  seems  to  show  that  that 
is  what  he  is.  Man  has  ruled  the  human  race  from 
the  beginning — but  he  should  remember  that  up  to 
the  middle  of  the  present  century  it  was  a  diill  world, 
and  ignorant  and  stupid;  but  it  is  not  such  a  dull 
world  now,  and  is  growing  less  and  less  dull  all  the 
time.  This  is  woman's  opportunity — she  has  had 
none  before.  I  wonder  where  man  will  be  in  another 
forty-seven  years  ? 

In  New  Zealand  law  occurs  this:  "The  word 
person  wherever  it  occiirs  throughout  the  Act  in- 
cludes woman.'' 

That  is  promotion,  you  see.  By  that  enlargement 
of  the  word,  the  matron  with  the  garnered  wisdom 
and  experience  of  fifty  years  becomes  at  one  jump 
the  political  equal  of  her  callow  kid  of  twenty-one. 
The  white  population  of  the  colony  is  six  hundred 
and  twenty-six  thousand,  the  Maori  population  is 
forty-two  thousand.  The  whites  elect  seventy  mem- 
bers of  the  House  of  Representatives,  the  Maoris 

286 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

four.  The  Maori  women  vote  for  their  four  mem- 
bers. 

November  i6.  After  four  pleasant  days  in  Christ- 
church,  we  are  to  leave  at  midnight  to-night.  Mr. 
ICinsey  gave  me  an  ornithorhyncus,  and  I  am  tam- 
ing it. 

Sunday,  ij.  Sailed  last  night  in  the  Flora,  from 
Lyttelton. 

So  we  did.  I  remember  it  yet.  The  people  who 
sailed  in  the  Flora  that  night  may  forget  some  other 
things  if  they  live  a  good  while,  but  they  will  not  live 
long  enough  to  forget  that.  The  Flora  is  about  the 
equivalent  of  a  cattle-scow;  but  when  the  Union 
Company  find  it  inconvenient  to  keep  a  contract  and 
lucrative  to  break  it,  they  smuggle  her  into  passenger 
service,  and  "keep  the  change." 

They  give  no  notice  of  their  projected  depredation ; 
you  innocently  buy  tickets  for  the  advertised  passen- 
ger-boat, and  when  you  get  down  to  Lyttelton  at 
midnight,  you  find  that  they  have  substituted  the 
scow.  They  have  plenty  of  good  boats,  but  no  com- 
petition— and  that  is  the  trouble.  It  is  too  late  now 
to  make  other  arrangements  if  you  have  engage- 
ments ahead. 

It  is  a  powerful  company,  it  has  a  monopoly,  and 
everybody  is  afraid  of  it — including  the  govern- 
ment's representative,  who  stands  at  the  end  of  the 
stage-plank  to  tally  the  passengers  and  see  that  no 
boat  receives  a  greater  number  than  the  law  allows 
her  to  carry.  This  conveniently  blind  representative 
saw  the  scow  receive  a  number  which  was  far  in 
excess  of  its  privilege,  and  winked  a  politic  wink  and 

287 


MARK     TWAIN 

said  nothing.  The  passengers  bore  with  meekness 
the  cheat  which  had  been  put  upon  them,  and  made 
no  complaint. 

It  was  Hke  being  at  home  in  America,  where 
abused  passengers  act  in  just  the  same  way.  A  few 
days  before,  the  Union  Company  had  discharged  a 
captain  for  getting  a  boat  into  danger,  and  had 
advertised  this  act  as  evidence  of  its  vigilance  in 
looking  after  the  safety  of  the  passengers — ^for  thug- 
ging  a  captain  costs  a  company  nothing;  but  when 
opportunity  offered  to  send  this  dangerously  over- 
crowded tub  to  sea  and  save  a  little  trouble  and  a 
tidy  penny  by  it,  it  forgot  to  worry  about  the  pas- 
sengers' safety. 

The  first  officer  told  me  that  the  Flora  was  privi- 
leged to  carry  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  passen- 
gers. She  must  have  had  all  of  two  hundred  on 
board.  All  the  cabins  were  full,  all  the  cattle-stalls 
in  the  main  stable  were  full,  the  spaces  at  the  heads 
of  companionways  were  full,  every  inch  of  floor  and 
table  in  the  swill-room  was  packed  with  sleeping 
men  and  remained  so  imtil  the  place  was  required 
for  breakfast,  all  the  chairs  and  benches  on  the 
hurricane-deck  were  occupied,  and  still  there  were 
people  who  had  to  walk  about  all  night! 

If  the  Flora  had  gone  down  that  night,  half  of  the 
people  on  board  would  have  been  wholly  without 
means  of  escape. 

The  owners  of  that  boat  were  not  technically 
guilty  of  conspiracy  to  commit  murder,  but  they 
were  morally  gtdlty  of  it. 

I  had  a  cattle-staU  in  the  mam  stable — a  cavern 

288 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

fitted  up  with  a  long  double  file  of  two-storied  bunks, 
the  files  separated  by  a  calico  partition — twenty  men 
and  boys  on  one  side  of  it,  twenty  women  and  girls 
on  the  other.  The  place  was  as  dark  as  the  soul  of 
the  Union  Company,  and  smelt  like  a  kennel.  When 
the  vessel  got  out  into  the  heavy  seas  and  began  to 
pitch  and  waUow,  the  cavern  prisoners  became  im- 
mediately seasick,  and  then  the  pecuHar  results  that 
ensued  laid  all  my  previous  experiences  of  the  kind 
well  away  in  the  shade.  And  the  wails,  the  groans, 
the  cries,  the  shrieks,  the  strange  ejaculations — it 
was  wonderful. 

The  women  and  children  and  some  of  the  men  and 
boys  spent  the  night  in  that  place,  for  they  were  too 
ill  to  leave  it;  but  the  rest  of  us  got  up,  by  and  by, 
and  finished  the  night  on  the  hurricane-deck. 

That  boat  was  the  foulest  I  was  ever  in;  and 
the  smell  of  the  breakfast  saloon  when  we  threaded 
our  way  among  the  layers  of  steaming  passengers 
stretched  upon  its  floor  and  its  tables  was  incom- 
parable for  efficiency. 

A  good  many  of  us  got  ashore  at  the  first  way-port 
to  seek  another  ship.  After  a  wait  of  three  hotirs 
we  got  good  rooms  in  the  Mahinapua,  a  wee  little 
bridal  parlor  of  a  boat — only  two  hundred  and  five 
tons  burthen;  clean  and  comfortable;  good  service; 
good  beds;  good  table,  and  no  crowding.  The  seas 
danced  her  about  like  a  duck,  but  she  was  safe  and 
capable. 

Next  morning  early  she  went  through  the  French 
Pass — a  narrow  gateway  of  rock,  between  bold  head- 
lands— so  narrow,  in  fact,  that  it  seemed  no  wider 

289 


MARK     TWAIN 

than  a  street.  The  current  tore  through  there  like 
a  mill-race,  and  the  boat  darted  through  like  a  tele- 
gram. The  passage  was  made  in  half  a  minute; 
then  we  were  in  a  wide  place  where  noble  vast  eddies 
swept  grandly  round  and  round  in  shoal-water,  and 
I  wondered  what  they  would  do  with  the  little  boat. 
They  did  as  the}^  pleased  with  her.  They  picked 
her  up  and  flung  her  around  like  nothing  and  landed 
her  gently  on  the  soHd,  smooth  bottom  of  sand — so 
gently,  indeed,  that  we  barely  felt  her  touch  it,  barely 
felt  her  quiver  when  she  came  to  a  standstill.  The 
water  was  as  clear  as  glass,  the  sand  on  the  bottom 
was  vividly  distinct,  and  the  fishes  seemed  to  be 
swimming  about  in  nothing.  Fishing-lines  were 
brought  out,  but  before  we  could  bait  the  hooks  the 
boat  was  off  and  away  again. 


CHAPTER  XXXIII 

THE  CARLSBAD  OF  AUSTRALASIA 

Let  us  be  grateful  to  Adam  our  benefactor.     He  cut  us  out  of  the  "blessing" 
of  idleness  and  won  for  us  the  "curse"  of  labor. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

WE  soon  reached  the  town  of  Nelson,  and  spent 
the  most  of  the  day  there,  visiting  acquaint- 
ances and  driving  with  them  about  the  garden — the 
whole  region  is  a  garden,  excepting  the  scene  of  the 
"Maungatapu  Murders,"  of  thirty  years  ago.  That 
is  a  wild  place — wild  and  lonely;  an  ideal  place  for 
a  murder.  It  is  at  the  base  of  a  vast,  rugged, 
densely  timbered  mountain.  In  the  deep  twilight  of 
that  forest  solitude  four  desperate  rascals — Burgess, 
Sullivan,  Levy,  and  Kelley — ambushed  themselves 
beside  the  mountain  trail  to  murder  and  rob  four 
travelers — Kempthome,  Mathieu,  Dudley,  and  De 
Pontius,  the  latter  a  New-Yorker.  A  harmless  old 
laboring -man  came  wandering  along,  and,  as  his 
presence  was  an  embarrassment,  they  choked  him, 
hid  him,  and  then  resumed  their  watch  for  the  four. 
They  had  to  wait  awhile,  but  eventually  everything 
turned  out  as  they  desired. 

That  dark  episode  is  the  one  large  event  in  the 
history  of  Nelson.  The  fame  of  it  traveled  far. 
Burgess  made  a  confession.  It  is  a  remarkable 
paper.  For  brevity,  succinctness,  and  concentration, 
it  is  perhaps  without  its  peer  in  the  literature  of 

291 


MARK     TWAIN 

murder.  There  are  no  waste  words  in  it ;  there  is  no 
obtrusion  of  matter  not  pertinent  to  the  occasion, 
nor  any  departure  from  the  dispassionate  tone  proper 
to  a  formal  business  statement — for  that  is  what  it 
is:  a  business  statement  of  a  murder,  by  the  chief 
engineer  of  it,  or  superintendent,  or  foreman,  or 
whatever  one  may  prefer  to  call  him. 

We  were  getting  impatient,  when  we  saw  four  men  and  a  pack- 
horse  coming.  I  left  my  cover  and  had  a  look  at  the  men,  for 
Levy  had  told  me  that  Mathieu  was  a  small  man  and  wore  a 
large  beard,  and  that  it  was  a  chestnut  horse.  I  said,  "  Here 
they  come.'*  They  were  then  a  good  distance  away;  I  took  the 
caps  off  my  gun,  and  put  fresh  ones  on.  I  said,  "  You  keep  where 
you  are,  I'll  put  them  up,  and  you  give  me  your  gun  while  you 
tie  them."  It  was  arranged  as  I  have  describad.  The  men 
came;  they  arrived  within  about  fifteen  yards,  when  I  stepped 
up  and  said,  "  Stand!  bail  up!"  That  means  all  of  them  to  get 
together.  I  made  them  fall  back  on  the  upper  side  of  the  road 
with  their  faces  up  the  range,  and  Sullivan  brought  me  his  gun, 
and  then  tied  their  hands  behind  them.  The  horse  was  very 
quiet  all  the  time,  he  did  not  move.  When  they  were  all  tied, 
Sullivan  took  the  horse  up  the  hill,  and  put  him  in  the  bush; 
he  cut  the  rope  and  let  the  swags  ^  fall  on  the  ground,  and  then 
came  to  me.  We  then  marched  the  men  down  the  incline  to 
the  creek;  the  water  at  this  time  barely  running.  Up  this 
creek  we  took  the  men;  we  went,  I  dare  say,  five  or  six  hundred 
yards  up  it,  which  took  us  nearly  half  an  hour  to  accomplish. 
Then  we  turned  to  the  right  up  the  range;  we  went,  I  dare  say, 
one  hundred  and  fifty  yards  from  the  creek,  and  there  we  sat 
down  with  the  men.  I  said  to  SulUvan,  "Put  down  your  gun 
and  search  these  men,"  which  he  did.  I  asked  them  their 
several  names;  they  told  me.  I  asked  them  if  they  were 
expected  at  Nelson.  They  said,  "No."  If  such  their  lives 
would  have  been  spared.  In  money  we  took  sixty  pounds  odd. 
I  said,  "  Is  this  all  you  have?  You  had  better  tell  me."  Sullivan 
said,  "Here  is  a  bag  of  gold."  I  said,  "What's  on  that  pack- 
horse?    Is  there  any  gold?"  when  Kempthome  said,  "Yes,  my 

*A  "swag"  is  a  kit,  a  pack,  small  baggage. 
292 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

gold  is  in  the  portmanteau,  and  I  trust  you  will  not  take  it  all." 
"Well,"  I  said,  "we  must  take  you  away  one  at  a  time,  because 
the  range  is  steep  just  here,  and  then  we  will  let  you  go."  They 
said,  "All  right,"  most  cheerfully.  We  tied  their  feet,  and  took 
Dudley  with  us;  we  went  about  sixty  yards  with  him.  This 
was  through  a  scrub.  It  was  arranged  the  night  previously  that 
it  would  be  best  to  choke  them,  in  case  the  report  of  the  arms 
might  be  heard  from  the  road,  and  if  they  were  missed  they 
never  would  be  found.  So  we  tied  a  handkerchief  over  his  eyes, 
when  SulHvan  took  the  sash  off  his  waist,  put  it  round  his  neck, 
•and  so  strangled  him.  Sullivan,  after  I  had  killed  the  old 
laboring-man,  found  fault  with  the  way  he  was  choked.  He 
said,  "The  next  we  do  I'll  show  you  my  way."  I  said,  "I  have 
never  done  such  a  thing  before.  I  have  shot  a  man,  but  never 
choked  one."  We  returned  to  the  others,  when  Kempthome 
said,  "What  noise  was  that?"  I  said  it  was  caused  by  breaking 
through  the  scrub.  This  was  taking  too  much  time,  so  it  was 
agreed  to  shoot  them.  With  that  I  said,  "We'll  take  you  no 
further,  but  separate  you,  and  then  loose  one  of  you,  and  he  can 
relieve  the  others."  So  with  that,  Sullivan  took  De  Pontius 
to  the  left  of  where  Kempthome  was  sitting.  I  took  Mathieu 
to  the  right.  I  tied  a  strap  round  his  legs,  and  shot  him  with 
a  revolver.  He  yelled,  I  ran  from  him  with  my  gim  in  my  hand, 
I  sighted  Kempthome,  who  had  risen  to  his  feet.  I  presented 
the  gun,  and  shot  him  behind  the  right  ear;  his  life's  blood  welled 
from  him,  and  he  died  instantaneously.  Sullivan  had  shot 
De  Pontius  in  the  mean  time,  and  then  came  to  me.  I  said, 
"Look  to  Mathieu,"  indicating  the  spot  where  he  lay.  He 
shortly  retumed  and  said,  "I  had  to  'chiv'  that  fellow,  he  was 
not  dead,"  a  cant  word,  meaning  that  he  had  to  stab  him. 
RetiuTiing  to  the  road  we  passed  where  De  Pontius  lay  and  was 
dead.  Sullivan  said,  "This  is  the  digger,  the  others  were  all 
storekeepers;  this  is  the  digger,  let's  cover  him  up,  for  should 
the  others  be  foimd,  they'll  think  he  done  it  and  sloped,"  meaning 
he  had  gone.  So  with  that  we  threw  all  the  stones  on  him, 
and  then  left  him.  This  bloody  work  took  nearly  an  hour  and 
a  half  from  the  time  we  stopped  the  men. 

Any  one  who  reads  that  confession  will  think  that 
the  man  who  wrote  it  was  destitute  of  emotions, 

293 


MARK     TWAIN 

destitute  of  feeling.  That  is  partly  true.  As  regarded 
others  he  was  plainly  without  feeling — utterly  cold 
and  pitiless;  but  as  regarded  himself  the  case  was 
different.  While  he  cared  nothing  for  the  future  of 
the  murdered  men,  he  cared  a  great  deal  for  his  own. 
It  makes  one's  flesh  creep  to  read  the  introduction 
to  his  confession.  The  judge  on  the  bench  char- 
acterized it  as  "scandalously  blasphemous,"  and  it 
certainly  reads  so,  but  Burgess  meant  no  blasphemy.  * 
He  was  merely  a  brute,  and  whatever  he  said  or 
wrote  was  sure  to  expose  the  fact.  His  redemption 
was  a  very  real  thing  to  him,  and  he  was  as  jubi- 
lantly happy  on  the  gallows  as  ever  was  Christian 
martyr  at  the  stake.  We  dwellers  in  this  world  are 
strangely  made,  and  mysteriously  circumstanced. 
We  have  to  suppose  that  the  murdered  men  are  lost, 
and  that  Biu^gess  is  saved;  but  we  cannot  suppress 
our  natural  regrets : 

Written  in  my  dungeon  drear  this  7th  of  August,  in  the  year  of 
Grace,  1866.  To  God  be  ascribed  all  power  and  glory  in  sub- 
duing the  rebellious  spirit  of  a  most  guilty  wretch,  who  has  been 
brought,  through  the  instrument ahty  of  a  faithful  follower  of 
Christ,  to  see  his  wretched  and  guilty  state,  inasmuch  as  hitherto 
he  has  led  an  awful  and  wretched  life,  and  through  the  assurance 
of  this  faithful  soldier  of  Christ,  he  has  been  led  and  also  believes 
that  Christ  will  yet  receive  and  cleanse  him  from  all  his  deep- 
dyed  and  bloody  sins.  I  lie  under  the  imputation  which  says, 
**Come  now  and  let  us  reason  together,  saith  the  Lord;  though 
your  sins  be  as  scarlet,  they  shall  be  as  white  as  snow;  though 
they  be  red  Hke  crimson,  they  shall  be  as  wool."  On  this 
promise  I  rely. 

We  sailed  in  the  afternoon  late,  spent  a  few  hours 
at  New  Plymouth,  then  sailed  again  and  reached 
Auckland  the  next  day,   November  20th,  and  re- 

294 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

mained  in  that  fine  city  several  days.  Its  situation 
is  commanding,  and  the  sea  view  is  superb.  There 
are  charming  drives  all  about,  and  by  courtesy  of 
friends  we  had  opportunity  to  enjoy  them.  From 
the  grassy  crater-summit  of  Mount  Eden  one's  eye 
ranges  over  a  grand  sweep  and  variety  of  scenery — 
forests  clothed  in  luxuriant  foliage,  rolling  green 
fields,  conflagrations  of  flowers,  receding  and  dim- 
ming stretches  of  green  plain,  broken  by  lofty  and 
symmetrical  old  craters — then  the  blue  bays  twink- 
ling and  sparkling  away  into  the  dreamy  distances 
where  the  mountains  loom  spiritual  in  their  veils 
of  haze. 

It  is  from  Auckland  that  one  goes  to  Rotorua,  the 
region  of  the  renowned  hot  lakes  and  geysers — one 
of  the  chief  wonders  of  New  Zealand ;  but  I  was  not 
well  enough  to  make  the  trip.  The  government  has 
a  sanitariimi  there,  and  everything  is  comfortable 
for  the  tourist  and  the  invalid.  The  government's 
official  physician  is  almost  over-cautious  in  his 
estimates  of  the  efficacy  of  the  baths,  when  he  is 
talking  about  rheimiatism,  gout,  paralysis,  and  such 
things;  but  when  he  is  talking  about  the  effective- 
ness of  the  waters  in  eradicating  the  whisky -habit,  he 
seems  to  have  no  reserves.  The  baths  will  cure  the 
drinking-habit  no  matter  how  chronic  it  is — and 
cure  it  so  effectually  that  even  the  desire  to  drink 
intoxicants  will  come  no  more.  There  should  be  a 
rush  from  Europe  and  America  to  that  place;  and 
when  the  victims  of  alcoholism  find  out  what  they 
can  get  by  going  there,  the  rush  will  begin. 

The  Thermal-springs  District  of  New  Zealand 
295 


MARK     TWAIN 

comprises  an  area  of  upward  of  six  hundred  thousand 
acres,  or  close  on  one  thousand  square  miles.  Ro- 
torua  is  the  favorite  place.  It  is  the  center  of  a  rich 
field  of  lake  and  mountain  scenery;  from  Rotorua 
as  a  base  the  pleasure-seeker  makes  excursions.  The 
crowd  of  sick  people  is  great,  and  growing.  Rotorua 
is  the  Carlsbad  of  Australasia. 

It  is  from  Auckland  that  the  Kauri  gum  is  shipped. 
For  a  long  time  now  about  eight  thousand  tons  of 
it  have  been  brought  into  the  town  per  year.  It  is 
worth  about  three  hundred  dollars  per  ton,  tmas- 
sorted;  assorted,  the  finest  grades  are  worth  about 
one  thousand  dollars.  It  goes  to  America,  chiefly.  It 
is  in  lumps,  and  is  hard  and  smooth,  and  looks  like 
amber — the  light  colored  like  new  amber,  and  the 
dark  brown  like  rich  old  amber.  And  it  has  the 
pleasant  feel  of  amber,  too.  Some  of  the  light-colored 
samples  were  a  tolerably  fair  counterfeit  of  imcut 
South  African  diamonds,  they  were  so  perfectly 
smooth  and  polished  and  transparent.  It  is  manu- 
factured into  varnish;  a  varnish  which  answers  for 
copal  varnish  and  is  cheaper. 

The  gum  is  dug  up  out  of  the  ground ;  it  has  been 
there  for  ages.  It  is  the  sap  of  the  Kauri  tree. 
Dr.  Campbell  of  Auckland  told  me  he  sent  a  cargo 
of  it  to  England  fifty  years  ago,  but  nothing  came 
of  the  venture.  Nobody  knew  what  to  do  with  it; 
so  it  was  sold  at  five  poimds  a  ton,  to  light  fires 
with. 

November  26 — ^3  p.m.,  sailed.  Vast  and  beautiful 
harbor.  Land  all  about  for  hours.  Tangariwa,  the 
mountain  that  "has  the  same  shape  from  every  point 

2q6 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

of  view."  That  is  the  common  belief  in  Auckland. 
And  so  it  has — from  every  point  of  view  except 
thirteen.  .  .  .  Perfect  summer  weather.  Large  school 
of  whales  in  the  distance.  Nothing  could  be 
daintier  than  the  puffs  of  vapor  they  spout  up, 
when  seen  against  the  pink  glory  of  the  sinking  stm, 
or  against  the  dark  mass  of  an  island  reposing  in 
the  deep  blue  shadow  of  a  storm-cloud.  .  .  .  Great 
Barrier  rock  standing  up  out  of  the  sea  away  to 
the  left.  Some  time  ago  a  ship  hit  it  full  speed  in  a 
fog — ^twenty  miles  out  of  her  course — one  himdred 
and  forty  lives  lost;  the  captain  committed  suicide 
without  waiting  a  moment.  He  knew  that,  whether 
he  was  to  blame  or  not,  the  company  owning  the 
vessel  would  discharge  him  and  make  a  devotion-to- 
passengers*-safety  advertisement  out  of  it,  and  his 
chance  to  make  a  livelihood  would  be  permanently 
gone. 


CHAPTER  XXXIV 

I  SEND  AN  ERROR  BY  TELEPATHY 

Let  us  not  be  too  particular.  It  is  better  to  have  old  second-hand  diamonds 
than  none  at  all. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

'\TOVEMBER  27.  To-day  we  reached  Gisbome, 
JL  V  and  anchored  in  a  big  bay;  there  was  a  heavy 
sea  on,  so  we  remained  on  board. 

We  were  a  mile  from  shore;  a  little  steam-tug 
put  out  from  the  land;  she  was  an  object  of  thrilling 
interest ;  she  w^ould  climb  to  the  summit  of  a  billow, 
reel  drunkenly  there  a  moment,  dim  and  gray  in 
the  driving  storm  of  spindrift,  then  make  a  plunge 
like  a  diver,  and  remain  out  of  sight  until  one  had 
given  her  up,  then  up  she  would  dart  again,  on  a 
steep  slant  toward  the  sky,  shedding  Niagaras  of 
water  from  her  forecastle — and  this  she  kept  up, 
all  the  way  out  to  us.  She  brought  twenty -five 
passengers  in  her  stomach — men  and  women — 
mainly  a  traveling  dramatic  company.  In  sight  on 
deck  were  the  crew,  in  sou'westers,  yellow  water- 
proof canvas  suits,  and  boots  to  the  thigh.  The 
deck  was  never  quiet  for  a  moment,  and  seldom 
nearer  level  than  a  ladder,  and  noble  were  the  seas 
which  leaped  aboard  and  went  flooding  aft.  We 
rove  a  long  line  to  the  yard-arm,  hung  a  most 
primitive  basket-chair  to  it,  and  swimg  it  out  into 
the  spacious  air  of  heaven,  and  there  it  swayed, 

298 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

pendulum-fashion,  waiting  for  its  chance — then 
down  it  shot,  skilfully  aimed,  and  was  grabbed  by 
the  two  men  on  the  forecastle.  A  young  fellow 
belonging  to  our  crew  was  in  the  chair,  to  be  a  pro- 
tection to  the  lady-comers.  At  once  a  couple  of 
ladies  appeared  from  below,  took  seats  in  his  lap, 
we  hoisted  them  into  the  sky,  waited  a  moment  till 
the  roll  of  the  ship  brought  them  in,  overhead,  then 
we  lowered  suddenly  away,  and  seized  the  chair 
as  it  struck  the  deck.  We  took  the  twenty-five 
aboard,  and  delivered  twenty-five  into  the  tug — 
among  them  several  aged  ladies,  and  one  blind  one — 
and  all  without  accident.    It  was  a  fine  piece  of  work. 

Ours  is  a  nice  ship,  roomy,  comfortable,  well 
ordered,  and  satisfactory.  Now  and  then  we  step 
on  a  rat  in  a  hotel,  but  we  have  had  no  rats  on  ship- 
board lately;  unless,  perhaps,  in  the  Flora;  we  had 
more  serious  things  to  think  of  there,  and  did  not 
notice.  I  have  noticed  that  it  is  only  in  ships  and 
hotels  which  still  employ  the  odious  Chinese  gong, 
that  you  find  rats.  The  reason  would  seem  to  be, 
that  as  a  rat  cannot  tell  the  time  of  day  by  a  clock, 
he  won't  stay  where  he  cannot  find  out  when  dinner 
is  ready. 

November  2Q.  The  doctor  tells  me  of  several  old 
dnmkards,  one  spiritless  loafer,  and  several  far-gone 
moral  wrecks  who  have  been  reclaimed  by  the  Sal- 
vation Army  and  have  remained  stanch  people  and 
hard  workers  these  two  years.  Wherever  one  goes, 
these  testimonials  to  the  Army's  efficiency  are  forth- 
coming. .  .  .  This  morning  we  had  one  of  those 
whizzing  green  Ballarat  flies  in  the  room,  with  his 

299 


MARK     TWAIN 

stunning  buzz-saw  noise — the  swiftest  creature  in 
the  world  except  the  Hghtning-flash.  It  is  a  stupen- 
dous force  that  is  stored  up  in  that  little  body.  If 
we  had  it  in  a  ship  in  the  same  proportion,  we  could 
spin  from  Liverpool  to  New  York  in  the  space  of 
an  hour — the  time  it  takes  to  eat  luncheon.  The 
New  Zealand  express  train  is  called  the  Ballarat 
Fly.  .  .  .  Bad  teeth  in  the  colonies.  A  citizen  told 
me  they  don't  have  teeth  filled,  but  pull  them  out 
and  put  in  false  ones,  and  that  now  and  then  one 
sees  a  young  lady  with  a  full  set.  She  is  forttmate. 
I  wish  I  had  been  bom  with  false  teeth  and  a  false 
liver  and  false  carbuncles.  I  should  get  along  better. 
December  2 — Monday.  Left  Napier  in  the  Bal- 
larat Fly — the  one  that  goes  twice  a  week.  From 
Napier  to  Hastings,  twelve  miles;  time,  fifty -five 
minutes — not  so  far  short  of  thirteen  miles  an 
hour.  ...  A  perfect  summer  day ;  cool  breeze,  bril- 
liant sky,  rich  vegetation.  Two  or  three  times 
during  the  afternoon  we  saw  wonderfully  dense  and 
beautiful  forests,  tumultuously  piled  skyward  on  the 
broken  highlands — not  the  customary  rooflike  slant 
of  a  hillside,  where  the  trees  are  all  the  same  height. 
The  noblest  of  these  trees  were  of  the  Kauri  breed, 
we  were  told — the  timber  that  is  now  furnishing  the 
wood-paving  for  Europe,  and  is  the  best  of  all  wood 
for  that  purpose.  Sometimes  these  towering  up- 
heavals of  forestry  were  festooned  and  garlanded 
with  vine-cables,  and  sometimes  the  masses  of 
imdergrowth  were  cocooned  in  another  sort  of  vine 
of  a  delicate  cobwebby  texture — they  call  it  the 
"supple-jack,"  I  think.     Tree-ferns  everywhere — 

300 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

a  stem  fifteen  feet  high,  with  a  graceful  chalice  of 
fern-fronds  sprouting  from  its  top — a  lovely  forest 
ornament.  And  there  was  a  ten-foot  reed  with  a 
flowing  suit  of  what  looked  like  yellow  hair  hanging 
from  its  upper  end.  I  do  not  know  its  name,  but  if 
there  is  such  a  thing  as  a  scalp  plant,  this  is  it.  A 
romantic  gorge,  with  a  brook  flowing  in  its  bottom, 
approaching  Palmerston  North. 

Waitukurau.  Twenty  minutes  for  limcheon.  With 
me  sat  my  wife  and  daughter,  and  my  manager, 
Mr.  Carlyle  Smythe.  I  sat  at  the  head  of  the  table, 
and  could  see  the  right-hand  wall;  the  others  had 
their  backs  to  it.  On  that  wall,  at  a  good  distance 
away,  were  a  couple  of  framed  pictures.  I  could  not 
see  them  clearly,  but  from  the  groupings  of  the  figures 
I  fancied  that  they  represented  the  killing  of  Napo- 
leon in.'s  son  by  the  Zulus  in  South  Africa.  I 
broke  into  the  conversation,  which  was  about  poetry 
and  cabbage  and  art,  and  said  to  my  wife: 

"Do  you  remember  when  the  news  came  to 
Paris—" 

"Of  the  killing  of  the  Prince?" 

(Those  were  the  very  words  I  had  in  my  mind.) 

"Yes,  but  what  Prince?" 

"Napoleon.    Lulu." 

"What  made  you  think  of  that?" 

"I  don't  know." 

There  was  no  collusion.  She  had  not  seen  the 
pictures,  and  they  had  not  been  mentioned.  She 
ought  to  have  thought  of  some  recent  news  that 
came  to  Paris,  for  we  were  but  seven  months  from 
there  and  had  been  living  there  a  couple  of  years 

301 


MARK     TWAIN 

when  we  started  on  this  trip;  but  instead  of  that 
she  thought  of  an  incident  of  our  brief  sojourn  in 
Paris  of  sixteen  years  before. 

Here  was  a  clear  case  of  mental  telegraphy;  of 
mind-transference;  of  my  mind  telegraphing  a 
thought  into  hers.  How  do  I  know?  Because  I 
telegraphed  an  error.  For  it  turned  out  that  the 
pictures  did  not  represent  the  killing  of  Lulu  at  all, 
nor  anything  connected  with  Lulu.  She  had  to  get 
the  error  from  my  head — it  existed  nowhere  else. 


CHAPTER  XXXV 

THE  MAORIS,   PATRIOTS  AND  WARRIORS 

The  Autocrat  of  Russia  possesses  more  power  than  any  other  man  In  the  earth; 
but  he  cannot  stop  a  sneeze. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

WANGANUI,  December  j.  A  pleasant  trip,  yes- 
terday, per  Ballarat  Fly.  Four  hours.  I  do 
not  know  the  distance,  but  it  must  have  been  well 
along  toward  fifty  miles.  The  Fly  could  have  spun 
it  out  to  eight  hours  and  not  discommoded  me;  for 
where  there  is  comfort,  and  no  need  for  hurry,  speed 
is  of  no  value — at  least  to  me;  and  nothing  that 
goes  on  wheels  can  be  more  comfortable,  more 
satisfactory,  than  the  New  Zealand  trains.  Outside 
of  America  there  are  no  cars  that  are  so  rationally 
devised.  When  you  add  the  constant  presence  of 
charming  scenery  and  the  nearly  constant  absence 
of  dust — well,  if  one  is  not  content  then,  he  ought 
to  get  out  and  walk.  That  would  change  his  spirit, 
perhaps;  I  think  so.  At  the  end  of  an  hour  you 
would  find  him  waiting  humbly  beside  the  track, 
and  glad  to  be  taken  aboard  again. 

Much  horseback-riding  in  and  around  this  town; 
many  comely  girls  in  cool  and  pretty  summer  gowns ; 
much  Salvation  Army;  lots  of  Maoris;  the  faces 
and  bodies  of  some  of  the  old  ones  very  tastefully 
frescoed.  Maori  Council  House  over  the  river — 
large,  strong,  carpeted  from  end  to  end  with  matting, 

303 


MARK     TWAIN 

and  decorated  with  elaborate  wood-carvings,  artist- 
ically executed.    The  Maoris  were  very  poHte. 

I  was  assured  by  a  member  of  the  House  of 
Representatives  that  the  native  race  is  not  decreas- 
ing, but  actually  increasing  slightly.  It  is  another 
evidence  that  they  are  a  superior  breed  of  savages. 
I  do  not  call  to  mind  any  savage  race  that  built  such 
good  houses,  or  such  strong  and  ingenious  and  scien- 
tific fortresses,  or  gave  so  much  attention  to  agricul- 
ture, or  had  military  arts  and  devices  which  so 
nearly  approached  the  white  man's.  These,  taken 
together  with  their  high  abilities  in  boat-building, 
and  their  tastes  and  capacities  in  the  ornamental 
arts,  modify  their  savagery  to  a  semi-civilization — 
or  at  least  to  a  quarter-civiHzation. 

It  is  a  compliment  to  them  that  the  British  did 
not  exterminate  them,  as  they  did  the  Australians 
and  the  Tasmanians,  but  were  content  with  subduing 
them,  and  showed  no  desire  to  go  further.  And  it 
is  another  compliment  to  them  that  the  British  did 
not  take  the  whole  of  their  choicest  lands,  but  left 
them  a  considerable  part,  and  then  went  further  and 
protected  them  from  the  rapacities  of  land-sharks — 
a  protection  which  the  New  Zealand  Government 
still  extends  to  them.  And  it  is  still  another  com- 
pliment to  the  Maoris  that  the  government  allows 
native  representation  in  both  the  legislature  and 
the  cabinet,  and  gives  both  sexes  the  vote.  And  in 
doing  these  things  the  government  also  compliments 
itself.  It  has  not  been  the  custom  of  the  world  for 
conquerors  to  act  in  this  large  spirit  toward  the 
conquered. 

304 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

The  highest-class  white  men  who  lived  among  the 
Maoris  in  the  eariiest  time  had  a  high  opinion  of 
them  and  a  strong  affection  for  them.  Among  the 
whites  of  this  sort  was  the  author  of  Old  New  Zealand; 
and  Dr.  Campbell  of  Auckland  was  another.  Dr. 
Campbell  was  a  close  friend  of  several  chiefs,  and 
has  many  pleasant  things  to  say  of  their  fidelity, 
their  magnanimity,  and  their  generosity.  Also  of 
their  quaint  notions  about  the  white  man's  queer 
civilization,  and  their  equally  quaint  comments  upon 
it.  One  of  them  thought  the  missionary  had  got 
everything  wrong  end  first  and  upside  down.  '  *  Why, 
he  wants  us  to  stop  worshiping  and  supplicating 
the  evil  gods,  and  go  to  worshiping  and  supplicating 
the  Good  One!  There  is  no  sense  in  that.  A  good 
god  is  not  going  to  do  us  any  harm." 

The  Maoris  had  the  tahu;  and  had  it  on  a  Poly- 
nesian scale  of  comprehensiveness  and  elaboration. 
Some  of  its  features  could  have  been  importations 
from  India  and  Judea.  Neither  the  Maori  nor  the 
Hindu  of  common  degree  could  cook  by  a  fire  that 
a  person  of  higher  caste  had  used,  nor  could  the 
high  Maori  or  high  Hindu  employ  fire  that  had 
served  a  man  of  low  grade;  if  a  low-grade  Maori  or 
Hindu  drank  from  a  vessel  belonging  to  a  high- 
grade  man,  the  vessel  was  defiled,  and  had  to  be 
destroyed.  There  were  other  resemblances  between 
Maori  tahu  and  Hindu  caste-custom. 

Yesterday  a  lunatic  burst  into  my  quarters  and 
warned  me  that  the  Jesuits  were  going  to  "cook" 
(poison)  me  in  my  food,  or  kill  me  on  the  stage  at 
night.    He  said  a  mysterious  sign  }  was  visible  upon 

30s 


MARK     TWAIN 

my  posters  and  meant  my  death.  He  said  he  saved 
Rev.  Mr.  Haweis's  Hfe  by  warning  him  that  there 
were  three  men  on  his  platform  who  would  kill 
him  if  he  took  his  eyes  off  them  for  a  moment 
during  his  lecture.  The  same  men  were  in  my  audi- 
ence last  night,  but  they  saw  that  he  was  there. 
"Will  they  be  here  again  to-night?"  He  hesitated; 
then  said  no,  he  thought  they  would  rather  take  a 
rest  and  chance  the  poison.  This  lunatic  has  no 
delicacy.  But  he  was  not  uninteresting.  He  told 
me  a  lot  of  things.  He  said  he  had  ' '  saved  so  many 
lecturers  in  twenty  years,  that  they  put  him  in  the 
asylum  y  I  think  he  has  less  refinement  than  any 
lunatic  I  have  met. 

December  8.  A  couple  of  curious  war-monuments 
here  at  Wanganui.  One  is  in  honor  of  white  men 
"who  fell  in  defense  of  law  and  order  against  fanati- 
cism and  barbarism."  Fanaticism.  We  Americans 
are  English  in  blood,  English  in  speech,  English  in 
religion,  English  in  the  essentials  of  our  govern- 
mental system,  English  in  the  essentials  of  our 
civilization;  and  so,  let  us  hope,  for  the  honor  of 
the  blend,  for  the  honor  of  the  blood,  for  the  honor 
of  the  race,  that  that  word  got  there  through  lack 
of  heedfulness,  and  will  not  be  suffered  to  remain. 
If  you  carve  it  at  Thermopylae,  or  where  Winkelried 
died,  or  upon  Bunker  Hill  moniunent,  and  read 
it  again — "who  fell  in  defense  of  law  and  order 
against  fanaticism" — you  will  perceive  what  the 
word  means,  and  how  mischosen  it  is.  Patriotism 
is  Patriotism.  Calling  it  Fanaticism  cannot  degrade 
it;   nothing  can  degrade  it.     Even  though  it  be  a 

306 


I 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

political  mistake,  and  a  thousand  times  a  political 
mistake,  that  does  not  affect  it;  it  is  honorable — 
always  honorable,  always  noble — and  privileged  to 
hold  its  head  up  and  look  the  nations  in  the  face. 
It  is  right  to  praise  these  brave  white  men  who  fell 
in  the  Maori  war — they  deserve  it ;  but  the  presence 
of  that  word  detracts  from  the  dignity  of  their  cause 
and  their  deeds,  and  makes  them  appear  to  have 
spilled  their  blood  in  a  conflict  with  ignoble  men, 
men  not  worthy  of  that  costly  sacrifice.  But  the 
men  were  worthy.  It  was  no  shame  to  fight  them. 
They  fought  for  their  homes,  they  fought  for  their 
country;  they  bravely  fought  and  bravely  fell; 
and  it  would  take  nothing  from  the  honor  of  the 
brave  Englishmen  who  lie  under  the  monument, 
but  add  to  it,  to  say  that  they  died  in  defense  of 
English  laws  and  English  homes  against  men  worthy 
of  the  sacrifice — the  Maori  patriots. 

The  other  monument  cannot  be  rectified.  Except 
with  dynamite.  It  is  a  mistake  all  through,  and  a 
strangely  thoughtless  one.  It  is  a  monument  erected 
by  white  men  to  Maoris  who  fell  fighting  with  the 
whites  and  against  their  own  people,  in  the  Maori 
war.  "Sacred  to  the  memory  of  the  brave  men 
who  fell  on  the  14th  of  May,  1864,"  etc.  On  one 
side  are  the  names  of  about  twenty  Maoris.  It  is 
not  a  fancy  of  mine;  the  monument  exists.  I  saw 
it.  It  is  an  object-lesson  to  the  rising  generation. 
It  invites  to  treachery,  disloyalty,  unpatriotism.  Its 
lesson,  in  frank  terms  is,  "Desert  your  flag,  slay 
your  people,  bum  their  homes,  shame  your  nation- 
ality— we  honor  such." 

307 


MARK     TWAIN 

December  p.  Wellington.  Ten  hours  from  Wan- 
ganui  by  the  Fly. 

December  12.  It  is  a  fine  city  and  nobly  situated. 
A  busy  place,  and  full  of  life  and  movement.  Have 
spent  the  three  days  partly  in  walking  about,  partly 
in  enjoying  social  privileges,  and  largely  in  idling 
aroimd  the  magnificent  garden  at  Hutt,  a  little  dis- 
tance away,  around  the  shore.  I  suppose  we  shall 
not  see  such  another  one  soon. 

We  are  packing  to-night  for  the  return-voyage  to 
Australia.  Our  stay  in  New  Zealand  has  been  too 
brief;  still,  we  are  not  unthankful  for  the  glimpse 
which  we  have  had  of  it. 

The  sturdy  Maoris  made  the  settlement  of  the 
coimtry  by  the  whites  rather  diffictilt.  Not  at  first — 
but  later.  At  first  they  welcomed  the  whites,  and 
were  eager  to  trade  with  them — partictdarly  for 
muskets;  for  their  pastime  was  internecine  war, 
and  they  greatly  preferred  the  white  man's  weapons 
to  their  own.  War  was  their  pastime — I  use  the 
word  advisedly.  They  often  met  and  slaughtered 
each  other  just  for  a  lark,  and  when  there  was  no 
quarrel.  The  author  of  Old  New  Zealand  mentions 
a  case  where  a  victorious  army  could  have  followed 
up  its  advantage  and  exterminated  the  opposing 
army,  but  declined  to  do  it ;  explaining  naively  that 
"if  we  did  that,  there  couldn't  be  any  more  fighting." 
In  another  battle  one  army  sent  word  that  it  was 
out  of  ammunition,  and  would  be  obliged  to  stop 
unless  the  opposing  army  would  send  some.  It  was 
sent,  and  the  fight  went  on. 

In  the  early  days  things  went  well  enough.    The 

308 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

natives  sold  land  without  clearly  understanding  the 
terms  of  exchange,  and  the  whites  bought  it  without 
being  much  disturbed  about  the  native's  confusion 
of  mind.  But  by  and  by  the  Maori  began  to  com- 
prehend that  he  was  being  wronged ;  then  there  was 
trouble,  for  he  was  not  the  man  to  swallow  a  wrong 
and  go  aside  and  cry  about  it.  He  had  the  Tas- 
manian's  spirit  and  endtirance,  and  a  notable  share 
of  military  science  besides;  and  so  he  rose  against 
the  oppressor,  did  this  gallant  "fanatic,"  and 
started  a  war  that  was  not  brought  to  a  definite  end 
until  more  than  a  generation  had  sped. 


CHAPTER  XXXVI 

THE   POETRY   OF   NATIVE   NAMES 

Th«re  are  several  good  protections  against  temptations,  but  the  surest  Is  cow- 
ardice.— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  CaUndar. 

Names  are  not  always  what  they  seem.  The  common  Welsh  name  Bzjxzllwcp 
is  pronounced  Jackson. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  CaUndar. 

T7\RIDAY,  December  ij.  Sailed,  at  3  p.m.,  in  the 
jf^  Mararoa.  Summer  seas  and  a  good  ship — life 
has  nothing  better. 

Monday.  Three  days  of  paradise.  Warm  and 
simny  and  smooth;  the  sea  a  limiinous  Mediterra- 
nean blue.  .  .  .  One  lolls  in  a  long  chair  all  day 
under  deck-awnings,  and  reads  and  smokes,  in  meas- 
ureless content.  One  does  not  read  prose  at  such  a 
time,  but  poetry.  I  have  been  reading  the  poems  of 
Mrs.  Julia  A.  Moore,  again,  and  I  find  in  them 
the  same  grace  and  melody  that  attracted  me  when 
they  were  first  published,  twenty  years  ago,  and  have 
held  me  in  happy  bonds  ever  since.  The  Senti- 
mental Song  Book  has  long  been  out  of  print,  and 
has  been  forgotten  by  the  world  in  general,  but  not 
by  me.  I  carry  it  with  me  always — it  and  Gold- 
smith's deathless  story.  .  .  .  Indeed,  it  has  the  same 
deep  charm  for  me  that  the  Vicar  of  Wakefield  has, 
and  I  find  in  it  the  same  subtle  touch — the  touch 
that  makes  an  intentionally  himiorous  episode  pa- 
thetic and  an  intentionally  pathetic  one  funny.  In 
her  time  Mrs.  Moore  was  called  ''the  Sweet  Singer 

310 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

of  Michigan,"  and  was  best  known  by  that  name.  I 
have  read  her  book  through  twice  to-day,  with  the 
purpose  of  determining  which  of  her  pieces  has  most 
merit,  and  I  am  persuaded  that  for  wide  grasp  and 
sustained  power,  **WilHam  Upson"  may  claim  first 
place : 

WILLIAM  UPSON 

Air— "The  Major's  Only  Son  " 

Come  all  good  people  far  and  near, 
Oh,  come  and  see  what  you  can  hear, 
It's  of  a  young  man  true  and  brave, 
I'liat  is  now  sleeping  in  his  grave. 

Now,  William  Upson  was  his  name — 
If  it's  not  that,  it's  all  the  same — 
He  did  enlist  in  a  cruel  strife, 
And  it  caused  him  to  lose  his  Hfe. 

He  was  Perry  Upson's  eldest  son, 
His  father  loved  his  noble  son, 
This  son  was  nineteen  years  of  age 
When  first  in  the  rebellion  he  engaged. 

His  father  said  that  he  might  go. 
But  his  dear  mother  she  said  no, 
"Oh!  stay  at  home,  dear  Billy,"  she  said, 
But  she  could  not  turn  his  head. 

He  went  to  Nashville,  in  Tennessee, 
There  his  kind  friends  he  could  not  see; 
He  died  among  strangers,  so  far  away, 
They  did  not  know  where  his  body  lay. 

He  was  taken  sick  and  lived  four  weeks, 
And  Oh!  how  his  parents  weep, 
But  now  they  must  in  sorrow  mourn, 
For  Billy  has  gone  to  his  heavenly  home. 

311 


MARK    TWAIN 

Oh!  if  his  mother  could  have  seen  her  son, 

For  she  loved  him,  her  darling  son; 

If  she  could  heard  his  dying  prayer, 

It  would  ease  her  heart  till  she  met  him  there. 

How  it  would  relieve  his  mother's  heart 
To  see  her  son  from  this  world  depart, 
And  hear  his  noble  words  of  love, 
As  he  left  this  world  for  that  above. 

Now  it  will  relieve  his  mother's  heart. 
For  her  son  is  laid  in  our  graveyard; 
For  now  she  knows  that  his  grave  is  near, 
She  will  not  shed  so  many  tears. 

Although  she  knows  not  that  it  was  her  son. 
For  his  coffin  could  not  be  opened — 
It  might  be  some  one  in  his  place, 
For  she  could  not  see  his  noble  face. 


December  ly.     Reached  Sydney. 

December  ig.  In  the  train.  Fellow  of  thirty  with 
four  valises ;  a  slim  creature,  with  teeth  which  made 
his  mouth  look  like  a  neglected  churchyard.  He 
had  solidified  hair — solidified  with  pomatum;  it  was 
all  one  shell.  He  smoked  the  most  extraordinary 
cigarettes — made  of  some  kind  of  manure,  appar- 
ently. These  and  his  hair  made  him  smell  like  the 
very  nation.  He  had  a  low-cut  vest  on,  which 
exposed  a  deal  of  frayed  and  broken  and  imclean 
shirt-front.  Showy  studs,  of  imitation  gold — they 
had  made  black  disks  on  the  Hnen.  Oversized  sleeve- 
buttons  of  imitation  gold,  the  copper  base  showing 
that.  Ponderous  watch-chain  of  imitation  gold.  I 
judge  he  couldn't  tell  the  time  by  it,  for  he  asked 
Smythe  what  time  it  was,  once.     He  wore  a  coat 

312 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

which  had  been  gay  when  it  was  young;  five-o'clock- 
tea  trousers  of  a  light  tint,  and  marvelously  soiled; 
yellow  mustache  with  a  dashing  upward  whirl  at  the 
ends;  foxy  shoes,  imitation  patent  leather.  He  was 
a  novelty — an  imitation  dude.  He  would  have  been 
a  real  one  if  he  could  have  afforded  it.  But  he  was 
satisfied  with  himself.  You  could  see  it  in  his  ex- 
pression, and  in  all  his  attitudes  and  movements. 
He  was  living  in  a  dude  dreamland  where  all  his 
squalid  shams  were  genuine,  and  himself  a  sincerity. 
It  disarmed  criticism,  it  mollified  spite,  to  see  him  so 
enjoy  his  imitation  languors,  and  arts,  and  airs,  and 
his  studied  daintinesses  of  gesture  and  misbegotten 
refinements.  It  was  plain  to  me  that  he  was  imagin- 
ing himself  the  Prince  of  Wales,  and  was  doing  every- 
thing the  way  he  thought  the  Prince  would  do  it. 
For  bringing  his  four  valises  aboard  and  stowing 
them  in  the  nettings,  he  gave  his  porter  four  cents, 
and  lightly  apologized  for  the  smallness  of  the 
gratuity — just  with  the  condescendingest  little  royal 
air  in  the  world.  He  stretched  himself  out  on  the 
front  seat  and  rested  his  pomatum-cake  on  the  mid- 
dle arm,  and  stuck  his  feet  out  of  the  window,  and 
began  to  pose  as  the  Prince  and  work  his  dreams  and 
languors  for  exhibition;  and  he  would  indolently 
watch  the  blue  films  curling  up  from  his  cigarette, 
and  inhale  the  stench,  and  look  so  grateful;  and 
would  flip  the  ash  away  with  the  daintiest  gesture, 
unintentionally  displaying  his  brass  ring  in  the  most 
intentional  way;  why,  it  was  as  good  as  being  in 
Marlborough  House  itself  to  see  him  do  it  so  like. 
There  was  other  scenery  in  the  trip.  That  of  the 
313 


MARK     TWAIN 

Hawksbury  River,  in  the  National  Park  region,  fine — 
extraordinarily  fine,  with  spacious  views  of  stream 
and  lake  imposingly  framed  in  woody  hills;  and 
every  now  and  then  the  noblest  groupings  of  moun- 
tains, and  the  most  enchanting  rearrangements  of 
the  water  effects.  Further  along,  green  flats,  thinly 
covered  with  gum  forests,  with  here  and  there  the 
huts  and  cabins  of  small  farmers  engaged  in  raising 
children.  Still  further  along,  arid  stretches,  lifeless 
and  melancholy.  Then  Newcastle,  a  rushing  town, 
capital  of  the  rich  coal  regions.  Approaching  Scone, 
wide  farming  and  grazing  levels,  with  pretty  frequent 
gHmpses  of  a  troublesome  plant  —  a  particularly 
devilish  little  prickly  pear,  daily  damned  in  the 
orisons  of  the  agriculturist;  imported  by  a  lady  of 
sentiment,  and  contributed  gratis  to  the  colony.  .  .  . 
Blazing  hot,  all  day. 

December  20.  Back  to  Sydney.  Blazing  hot  again. 
From  the  newspaper,  and  from  the  map,  I  have 
made  a  collection  of  cirrious  names  of  Australasian 
towns,  with  the  idea  of  making  a  poem  out  of  them : 


Tumut 

Waitpinga 

Wollongong 

Takee 

Goelwa 

Woolloomooloo 

Murriwillumba 

Munno  Para 

Bombola 

Bowral 

Nangkita 

Coolgardie 

Ballarat 

Myponga 

Bendigo 

Mullengudgery 

Kapunda 

Coonamble 

Murrurundi 

Kooringa 

Cootamundra 

Wagga-Wagga 

Penola 

Woolgoolga 

Wyalong 

Nangwarry 

Mittagong 

Mumimbidgee 

Kongorong 

Jamberoo 

Goomeroo 

Comaum 

Kondoparinga 

Wolloway 

Koolywurtie 

Kuitpo 

Wangary 

Killanoola 

Tungkillo 

314 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 


Wanilla 

Worrow 

Koppio 

Yankalilla 

Yaranyacka 

Yackamoorundie 

Kaiwaka 

Goomooroo 

Tauranga 

Geelong 

Tongariro 

Kaikoura 

Wakatipu 

Oohipara 


Naracoorte 

Muloowurtie 

Binnum 

Wallaroo 

Wirrega 

Mundoora 

Hauraki 

Rangiriri 

Teawamute 

Taranaki 

Toowoomba 

Goondiwindi 

Jerrilderie 

Whangaroa 


Oukaparinga 

Talunga 

Yatala 

Parawirra 

Moorooroo 

Whangarei 

Woolundunga 

Booleroo 

Pematty 

Parramatta 

Taroom 

Narrandera 

Deniliquin 

Kawakawa 


It  may  be  best  to  build  the  poem  now,  and  make 
the  weather  help : 

A  SWELTERING  DAY  IN  AUSTRALIA 
{To  be  read  soft  and  low,  with  the  lights  turned  down) 

The  Bombola  faints  in  the  hot  Bowral  tree, 
Where  fierce  Mullengudgery's  smothering  fires 

Far  from  the  breezes  of  Coolgardie 

Bum  ghastly  and  blue  as  the  day  expires; 

And  Murriwillumba  complaineth  in  song 
For  the  garlanded  bowers  of  Woolloomooloo, 

And  the  Ballarat  Fly  and  the  lone  Wollongong 
They  dream  of  the  gardens  of  Jamberoo; 

The  wallabi  sighs  for  the  Murrumbidgee, 
For  the  velvety  sod  of  the  Munno  ParaA, 

Where  the  waters  of  healing  from  Muloowur/te 
Flow  dim  in  the  gloaming  by  YaranyacyfeaA; 

The  Koppio  sorrows  for  lost  Wolloway, 
And  sigheth  in  secret  for  Murrurun^i, 

The  Whangaroa  wombat  lamenteth  the  day 
That  made  him  an  exile  from  Jerrilderie; 

315 


3 


MARK     TWAIN 

The  Teawamute  Tumut  from  Wirrega's  glade, 
The  Nangkita  swallow,  the  Wallaroo  swan, 

They  long  for  the  peace  of  the  Timaru  shade 
And  thy  balmy  soft  airs,  O  sweet  Mittagong! 

The  Kooringa  buffalo  pants  in  the  sim, 
The  Kondoparinga  lies  gaping  for  breath, 

The  Kongorong  Comaum  to  the  shadow  has  won, 
But  the  Goomeroo  sinks  in  the  slumber  of  death; 

In  the  weltering  hell  of  the  Moorooroo  plain 
The  Yatala  Wangary  withers  and  dies, 

And  the  Worrow  Wanilla,  demented  with  pain. 
To  the  Woolgoolga  woodlands  despairingly  flies; 

Sweet  Nangwarry's  desolate,  Coonamble  wails, 
And  Tungkillo  Kuitpo  in  sables  is  drest, 

For  the  Whangarei  winds  fall  asleep  in  the  sails 
And  the  Booleroo  life-breeze  is  dead  in  the  west. 

Myponga,  Kapunda,  O  slumber  no  more! 

YankaHlla,  Parawirra,  be  warned! 
There's  death  in  the  air!     Killanoola,  wherefore 

Shall  the  prayer  of  Penola  be  scorned? 

Cootamundra,  and  Takee,  and  Wakatipu, 

Toowoomba,  Kaikoura  are  lost! 
From  Oukaparinga  to  far  Oamaru 

All  bum  in  this  hell's  holocaust! 

Parramatta  and  Binnum  are  gone  to  their  rest 

In  the  vale  of  Tapanni  Taroom, 
Kawakawa,  Deniliquin — all  that  was  best 

In  the  earth  are  but  graves  and  a  tomb! 

Narrandera  mourns,  Cameroo  answers  not 
When  the  roll  of  the  scathless  we  cry: 

Tongariro,  Goondiwindi,  Woolundunga,  the  spot 
Is  mute  and  forlorn  where  ye  lie. 
316 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

Those  are  good  words  for  poetry.  Among  the 
best  I  have  ever  seen.  There  are  eighty-one  in  the 
list.  I  did  not  need  them  all,  but  I  have  knocked 
down  sixty-six  of  them;  which  is  a  good  bag,  it 
seems  to  me,  for  a  person  not  in  the  business.  Per- 
haps a  poet  laureate  could  do  better,  but  a  poet 
laureate  gets  wages,  and  that  is  different.  When  I 
write  poetry  I  do  not  get  any  wages;  often  I  lose 
money  by  it.  The  best  word  in  that  list,  and  the 
most  musical  and  gurgly,  is  Woolloomooloo.  It  is 
a  place  near  Sydney,  and  is  a  favorite  pleasure  resort. 
It  has  eight  O's  in  it. 


END   OF   VOL,  I 


FOIXOWING    THE    EQUATOK.      VoL.    II 


Copyright,   1897  and  1899.  by  Olivia  L.  Clemxks 
Printed  in  the  United  States  of  America 


CONTENTS 


I.  Ceylon — the  Radiant,  Incomparable  East 

II.  Bombay — the  Arabian  Nights  Come  Again 

III.  I  Enjoy  a  Divine  Call 

IV.  Majesty  of  the  Towers  of  Silence 

V.  We  Mingle  With  Human  Fireworks 

VI.  The  Home  of  the  Black  Death  . 

VII.  Juggernaut,  Suttee  and  Thuggee 

VIII.  Sleeping-cars,  Plain  but  Pleasant 

IX.  I  Ride  an  Elephant — by  Request 

X.  Murders  by  Wholesale  .... 

XI.  Hunting  Men  for  Mere  Sport    . 

XII.  The  Widow  Who  Burned  Gladly 

XIII.  Allahabad  and  the  Holy  Fair     . 

XIV.  Baffling  Hindu  Theology   .    .     . 

XV.  How  to  Make  Salvation  Sure     . 

XVI.  Ganges,  the  Great  Purifier    .     . 

XVII.  Merrymaking  in  the  Taj  Mahal 

XVIII.  Ochterlony — also  the  Black  Hole 

XIX.  How  Vile  is  the  Heathen,  Really? 

XX.  The  Perfection  of  Human  Delight 

XXI.  The  Snake  and  Tiger  Death-roll   . 

XXII.  Frightful  Days  of  the  Mutiny  .     . 

XXIII.  Exaggerating  the  Taj 

XXIV.  Satan  Drunk;    Loses  His  Job   .     .     . 

XXV.  Babu  Errors  No  Worse  than  Ours 

XXVI.  At  Queer  Mauritius,  Homeward  Bound 

XXVII.  Where  Matches  Will  Not  Light 

XXVIII.  What  Barnum  Did  For  Shakespeare 


CONTENTS 

CHAP.  PACS 

XXIX.  Good  Work  of  the  Dour  Trappists     .     .     .     .  318 

XXX.  The  Truth  about  Jameson's  Raid 327 

XXXI.  Why  the  Boers  Beat  Jameson 338 

XXXII.  The  Boer  as  He  Really  Is 354 

XXXIII.  Diamonds  and  Cecil  Rhodes 366 

Conclusion — Strange  Case  of  Dr.  Barry    .    .  379 


FOLLOWING 
THE  EQUATOR 


CHAPTER  I 


To  succeed  in  the  other  trades,  capacity  must  be  shown;  in  the  law,  concealment 
of  it  will  do. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  CaUndar. 

TiyfONDAY,  December  2j,  1895.  Sailed  from 
lyjL  Sydney  for  Ceylon  in  the  P.  &  O.  steamer 
Oceana.  A  Lascar  crew  mans  this  ship — the  first 
I  have  seen.  White  cotton  petticoat  and  pants; 
barefoot;  red  shawl  for  belt;  straw  cap,  brimless, 
on  head,  with  red  scarf  wotmd  around  it ;  complexion 
a  rich  dark  brown;  short  straight  black  hair;  whis- 
kers fine  and  silky;  lustrous  and  intensely  black. 
Mild,  good  faces;  willing  and  obedient  people; 
capable,  too;  but  are  said  to  go  into  hopeless  panics 
when  there  is  danger.  They  are  from  Bombay  and 
the  coast  thereabouts.  .  .  .  Left  some  of  the  trunks 
in  Sydney,  to  be  shipped  to  South  Africa  by  a  vessel 
advertised  to  sail  three  months  hence.  The  proverb 
says:  "Separate  not  yourself  from  your  baggage." 
.  .  .  This  Oceana  is  a  stately  big  ship,  luxuriously 
appointed.  She  has  spacious  promenade  decks. 
Large  rooms;  a  surpassingly  comfortable  ship.     The 


MARK     TWAIN 

officers*  library  is  well  selected;  a  ship's  library  is 
not  usually  that.  .  .  .  For  meals,  the  bugle-call, 
man-of-war  fashion;  a  pleasant  change  from  the 
terrible  gong.  .  .  .  Three  big  cats — very  friendly 
loafers;  they  wander  all  over  the  ship;  the  white 
one  follows  the  chief  steward  around  like  a  dog. 
There  is  also  a  basket  of  kittens.  One  of  these  cats 
goes  ashore,  in  port,  in  England,  Australia,  and  India, 
to  see  how  his  various  families  are  getting  along, 
and  is  seen  no  more  till  the  ship  is  ready  to  sail. 
No  one  knows  how  he  finds  out  the  sailing-date,  but 
no  doubt  he  comes  down  to  the  dock  every  day  and 
takes  a  look,  and  when  he  sees  baggage  and  passen- 
gers flocking  in,  recognizes  that  it  is  time  to  get 
aboard.  This  is  what  the  sailors  believe.  .  .  .  The 
Chief  Engineer  has  been  in  the  China  and  India 
trade  thirty-three  years,  and  has  had  but  three 
Christmases  at  home  in  that  time.  .  .  .  Conversa- 
tional items  at  dinner:  "Mocha!  sold  all  over  the 
world!  It  is  not  true.  In  fact,  very  few  foreigners 
except  the  Emperor  of  Russia  have  ever  seen  a  grain 
of  it,  or  ever  will,  while  they  live.'*  Another  man 
said:  ''There  is  no  sale  in  Australia  for  Australian 
wine.  But  it  goes  to  France  and  comes  back  with  a 
French  label  on  it,  and  then  they  buy  it."  I  have 
heard  that  the  most  of  the  French-labeled  claret  in 
New  York  is  made  in  California.  A.nd  I  remember 
what  Professor  S.  told  me  once  about  Veuve  Clicquot 
— ^if  that  was  the  wine,  and  I  think  it  was.  He  was 
the  guest  of  a  great  wine  merchant  whose  town  was 
quite  near  that  vineyard,  and  this  merchant  asked 
him  if  very  much  V.  C.  was  drunk  in  America. 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

*'0h,  yes,"  said  S.,  "a  great  abundance  of  it." 

''Is  it  easy  to  be  had?" 

"Oh,  yes — easy  as  water.  All  first  and  second 
class  hotels  have  it." 

"What  do  you  pay  for  it?" 

"It  depends  on  the  style  of  the  hotel — from 
fifteen  to  twenty-five  francs  a  bottle." 

"Oh,  fortunate  country!  Why,  it's  worth  one 
hundred  francs  right  here  on  the  groimd." 

"No." 

"Yes." 

"Do  you  mean  that  we  are  drinking  a  bogus 
Veuve  Clicquot  over  there?" 

*  *  Yes — and  there  was  never  a  bottle  of  the  genuine 
in  America  since  Colimibus's  time.  That  wine  all 
comes  from  a  little  bit  of  a  patch  of  ground  which 
isn't  big  enough  to  raise  many  bottles;  and  all  of  it 
that  is  produced  goes  every  year  to  one  person — 
the  Emperor  of  Russia.  He  takes  the  whole  crop 
in  advance,  be  it  big  or  little." 

January  4,  1896.  Christmas  in  Melbourne,  New 
Year*s  Day  in  Adelaide,  and  saw  most  of  the  friends 
again  in  both  places.  .  .  .  Lying  here  at  anchor  all 
day — Albany  (King  George's  Sound),  Western  Aus- 
tralia. It  is  a  perfectly  land-locked  harbor,  or 
roadstead — spacious  to  look  at,  but  not  deep  water. 
Desolate-looking  rocks  and  scarred  hills.  Plenty  of 
ships  arriving  now,  rushing  to  the  new  gold-fields. 
The  papers  are  full  of  wonderful  tales  of  the  sort 
always  to  be  heard  in  connection  with  new  gold  dig- 
gings. A  sample:  a  youth  staked  out  a  claim  and 
tried  to  sell  half  for  five  pounds ;  no  takers ;  he  stuck 

3 


MARK     TWAIN 

to  it  fourteen  days,  starving,  then  struck  it  rich  and 
sold  out  for  ten  thousand  pounds.  .  .  .  About  sun- 
set, strong  breeze  blowing,  got  up  the  anchor.  We 
were  in  a  small  deep  puddle,  with  a  narrow  channel 
leading  out  of  it,  minutely  buoyed,  to  the  sea.  I 
stayed  on  deck  to  see  how  we  were  going  to  manage 
it  with  such  a  big  ship  and  such  a  strong  wind.  On 
the  bridge  our  giant  captain,  in  uniform;  at  his  side 
a  little  pilot  in  elaborately  gold-laced  imiform;  on 
the  forecastle  a  white  mate  and  quartermaster  or 
two,  and  a  brilliant  crowd  of  lascars  standing  by 
for  business.  Our  stem  was  pointing  straight  at  the 
head  of  the  channel ;  so  we  must  turn  entirely  aroimd 
in  the  puddle — and  the  wind  blowing  as  described. 
It  was  done,  and  beautifully.  It  was  done  by  help 
of  a  jib.  We  stirred  up  much  mud,  but  did  not 
touch  the  bottom.  We  turned  right  aroimd  in  our 
tracks — a  seeming  impossibility.  We  had  several 
casts  of  quarter-less  5,  and  one  cast  of  half  4 — 27 
feet;  we  were  drawing  26  astern.  By  the  time  we 
were  entirely  around  and  pointed^  the  first  buoy  was 
not  more  than  a  himdred  yards  in  front  of  us.  It 
was  a  fine  piece  of  work,  and  I  was  the  only  passen- 
ger that  saw  it.  However,  the  others  got  their 
dinner;  the  P.  &  O.  Company  got  mine.  .  .  . 
More  cats  developed.  Smythe  says  it  is  a  British 
law  that  they  must  be  carried;  and  he  instanced  a 
case  of  a  ship  not  allowed  to  sail  till  she  sent  for  a 
couple.  The  bill  came,  too:  "Debtor,  to  two  cats, 
twenty  shillings."  .  .  .  News  comes  that  within  this 
week  Siam  has  acknowledged  herself  to  be,  in  effect, 
a  French  province.     It  seems  plain  that  all  savage 

4 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  semi-civilized  countries  are  going  to  be  grabbed. 
...  A  vulture  on  board;  bald,  red,  queer-shaped 
head,  featherless  red  places  here  and  there  on  his 
body,  intense  great  black  eyes  set  in  featherless  rims 
of  inflamed  flesh;  dissipated  look;  a  businesslike 
style,  a  selfish,  conscienceless,  murderous  aspect — 
the  very  look  of  a  professional  assassin,  and  yet  a 
bird  which  does  no  murder.  What  was  the  use  of 
getting  him  up  in  that  tragic  style  for  so  innocent  a 
trade  as  his?  For  this  one  isn't  the  sort  that  wars 
upon  the  living,  his  diet  is  offal — and  the  more  out 
of  date  it  is  the  better  he  likes  it.  Nature  should 
give  him  a  suit  of  rusty  black;  then  he  would  be 
all  right,  for  he  would  look  like  an  undertaker  and 
would  harmonize  with  his  business;  whereas  the 
way  he  is  now  he  is  horribly  out  of  true. 

January  5.  At  nine  this  morning  we  passed  Cape 
Leeuwin  (Honess)  and  ceased  from  our  long  due- 
west  course  along  the  southern  shore  of  Australia, 
Turning  this  extreme  southwestern  comer,  we  now 
take  a  long  straight  slant  nearly  N.W.,  without  a 
break,  for  Ceylon.  As  we  speed  northward  it  will 
grow  hotter  very  fast — ^but  is  isn't  chilly,  now. 
.  .  .  The  vulture  is  from  the  public  menagerie 
at  Adelaide — a  great  and  interesting  collection.  It 
was  there  that  we  saw  the  baby  tiger  solemnly  spread- 
ing its  mouth  and  trying  to  roar  like  its  majestic 
mother.  It  swaggered,  scowling,  back  and  forth  on 
its  short  legs  just  as  it  had  seen  her  do  on  her  long 
ones,  and  now  and  then  snarling  viciously,  exposing 
its  teeth,  with  a  threatening  lift  of  its  upper  lip  and 
bristUng   mustache;    and  when   it   thought  it  was 

5 


MARK     TWAIN 

impressing  the  visitors,  it  would  spread  its  mouth 
wide  and  do  that  screechy  cry  which  it  meant  for  a 
roar,  but  which  did  not  deceive.  It  took  itself  quite 
seriously,  and  was  lovably  comical.  And  there  was 
a  hyena — an  ugly  creature;  as  ugly  as  the  tiger- 
kitty  was  pretty.  It  repeatedly  arched  its  back  and 
delivered  itself  of  such  a  himian  cry;  a  startling 
resemblance;  a  cry  which  was  just  that  of  a  grown 
person  badly  hurt.  In  the  dark  one  would  assuredly 
go  to  its  assistance  —  and  be  disappointed.  .  .  . 
Many  friends  of  Australasian  Federation  on  board. 
They  feel  sure  that  the  good  day  is  not  far  off,  now. 
But  there  seems  to  be  a  party  that  would  go  further — 
have  Australasia  cut  loose  from  the  British  Empire 
and  set  up  housekeeping  on  her  own  hook.  It 
seems  an  unwise  idea.  They  point  to  the  United 
States,  but  it  seems  to  me  that  the  cases  lack  a  good 
deal  of  being  alike.  Australasia  governs  herself 
wholly — there  is  no  interference;  and  her  commerce 
and  manufactures  are  not  oppressed  in  any  way.  If 
our  case  had  been  the  same  we  should  not  have  gone 
out  when  we  did. 

January  ij.  Unspeakably  hot.  The  equator  is 
arriving  again.  We  are  within  eight  degrees  of  it. 
Ceylon  present.  Dear  me,  it  is  beautiful!  And 
most  simiptuously  tropical,  as  to  character  of  foliage 
and  optdence  of  it.  "What  though  the  spicy  breezes 
blow  soft  o'er  Ceylon's  isle" — an  eloquent  line,  an 
incomparable  line;  it  says  little,  but  conveys  whole 
libraries  of  sentiment,  and  Oriental  charm  and 
mystery,  and  tropic  deliciousness — a  line  that  quivers 
and  tingles  with  a  thousand  imexpressed  and  inex- 

6 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

pressible  things,  things  that  haunt  one  and  find  no 
articulate  voice.  .  .  .  Colombo,  the  capital.  An 
Oriental  town,  most  manifestly;  and  fascinating. 
...  In  this  palatial  ship  the  passengers  dress  for 
dinner.  The  ladies'  toilettes  make  a  fine  display  of 
color,  and  this  is  in  keeping  with  the  elegance  of  the 
vessel's  furnishings  and  the  flooding  brilliancies  of 
the  electric  light.  On  the  stormy  Atlantic  one  never 
sees  a  man  in  evening  dress,  except  at  the  rarest 
intervals;  and  then  there  is  only  one,  not  two;  and 
he  shows  up  but  once  on  a  voyage — the  night  before 
the  ship  makes  port — the  night  when  they  have 
the  ** concert"  and  do  the  amateur  wailings  and 
recitations.  He  is  the  tenor,  as  a  rule.  .  .  .  There 
has  been  a  deal  of  cricket-playing  on  board;  it 
seems  a  queer  game  for  a  ship,  but  they  inclose 
the  promenade  deck  with  nettings  and  keep  the  ball 
from  flying  overboard,  and  the  sport  goes  very  well, 
and  is  properly  violent  and  exciting.  .  .  .  We  must 
part  from  this  vessel  here. 

January  14.  Hotel  Bristol.  Servant  Brompy. 
Alert,  gentle,  smiling,  winning  young  brown  creature 
as  ever  was.  Beautiful  shining  black  hair  combed 
back  like  a  woman's,  and  knotted  at  the  back  of  his 
head  —  tortoise-shell  comb  in  it,  sign  that  he  is  a 
Singhalese;  slender,  shapely  form;  jacket;  imder  it 
is  a  beltless  and  flowing  white  cotton  gown — from 
neck  straight  to  heel ;  he  and  his  outfit  quite  unmas- 
culine.  It  was  an  embarrassment  to  undress  before 
him. 

We  drove  to  the  market,  using  the  Japanese  jin- 
rikisha — our  first  acquaintanceship  with  it.     It  is  a 

7 


MARK     TWAIN 

light  cart,  with  a  native  to  draw  it.  He  makes  good 
speed  for  half  an  hour,  but  it  is  hard  work  for  him; 
he  is  too  slight  for  it.  After  the  half -hour  there  is  no 
more  pleasure  for  you;  your  attention  is  all  on  the 
man,  just  as  it  would  be  on  a  tired  horse,  and  neces- 
sarily your  sympathy  is  there,  too.  There's  a  plenty 
of  these  'rikishas,  and  the  tariff  is  incredibly  cheap. 

I  was  in  Cairo  years  ago.  That  was  Oriental,  but 
there  was  a  lack.  When  you  are  in  Florida  or  New 
Orleans  you  are  in  the  South — that  is  granted;  but 
you  are  not  in  the  South;  you  are  in  a  modified 
South,  a  tempered  South.  Cairo  was  a  tempered 
Orient — ^an  Orient  with  an  indefinite  something 
wanting.  That  feeling  was  not  present  in  Ceylon. 
Ceylon  was  Oriental  in  the  last  measure  of  com- 
pleteness— utterly  Oriental;  also  utterly  tropical; 
and  indeed  to  one's  unreasoning  spiritual  sense  the 
two  things  belong  together.  All  the  requisites  were 
present.  The  costumes  were  right;  the  black  and 
brown  exposures,  unconscious  of  immodesty,  were 
right;  the  juggler  was  there,  with  his  basket,  his 
snakes,  his  mongoose,  and  his  arrangements  for 
growing  a  tree  from  seed  to  foliage  and  ripe  fruitage 
before  one's  eyes;  in  sight  were  plants  and  flowers 
familiar  to  one  on  books  but  in  no  other  way — 
:elebrated,  desirable,  strange,  but  in  production  re- 
stricted to  the  hot  belt  of  the  equator;  and  out  a 
little  way  in  the  country  were  the  proper  deadly 
snakes,  and  fierce  beasts  of  prey,  and  the  wild 
elephant  and  the  monkey.  And  there  was  that 
swoon  in  the  air  which  one  associates  with  the  tropics, 
and  that  smother  of  heat,  heavy  with  odors  of  im- 

8 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

known  flowers,  and  that  sudden  invasion  of  purple 
gloom  fissured  with  lightnings — then  the  tumult  of 
crashing  thunder  and  the  downpour — and  presently- 
all  sunny  and  smiling  again;  all  these  things  were 
there;  the  conditions  were  complete,  nothing  was 
lacking.  And  away  off  in  the  deeps  of  the  jungle 
and  in  the  remotenesses  of  the  mountains  were  the 
ruined  cities  and  moldering  temples,  mysterious 
relics  of  the  pomps  of  a  forgotten  time  and  a  vanished 
race — ^and  this  was  as  it  should  be,  also,  for  nothing 
is  quite  satisfyingly  Oriental  that  lacks  the  somber 
and  impressive  qualities  of  mystery  and  antiquity. 
The  drive  through  the  town  and  out  to  the  Galle 
Face  by  the  seashore,  what  a  dream  it  was  of  tropical 
splendors  of  bloom  and  blossom,  and  Oriental  con- 
flagrations of  costume !  The  walking  groups  of  men, 
women,  boys,  girls,  babies — each  individual  was  a 
flame,  each  group  a  house  afire  for  color.  And 
such  sttuming  colors,  such  intensely  vivid  colors, 
such  rich  and  exquisite  minglings  and  fusings  of 
rainbows  and  lightnings !  And  all  harmonious,  all  in 
perfect  taste ;  never  a  discordant  note ;  never  a  color 
on  any  person  swearing  at  another  color  on  him  or 
failing  to  harmonize  faultlessly  with  the  colors  of 
any  group  the  wearer  might  join.  The  stuffs  were 
silk — thin,  soft,  delicate,  clinging;  and,  as  a  rule,  each 
piece  a  soHd  color :  a  splendid  green,  a  splendid  blue, 
a  splendid  yellow,  a  splendid  purple,  a  splendid 
ruby,  deep  and  rich  with  smoldering  fires  —  they 
swept  continuously  by  in  crowds  and  legions  and 
multitudes,  glowing,  flashing,  burning,  radiant;  and 
every  five  seconds  came  a  burst  of  bHnding  red  that 

9 


MARK    TWAIN 

made  a  body  catch  his  breath,  and  filled  his  heart 
with  joy.  And  then,  the  unimaginable  grace  of 
those  costumes!  Sometimes  a  woman's  whole  dress 
was  but  a  scarf  wound  about  her  person  and  her 
head,  sometimes  a  man's  was  but  a  turban  and  a 
careless  rag  or  two — in  both  cases  generous  areas 
of  polished  dark  skin  showing — but  always  the 
arrangement  compelled  the  homage  of  the  eye  and 
made  the  heart  sing  for  gladness. 

I  can  see  it  to  this  day,  that  radiant  panorama, 
that  wilderness  of  rich  color,  that  incomparable 
dissolving-view  of  harmonious  tints,  and  lithe  half- 
covered  forms,  and  beautiful  brown  faces,  and  gra- 
cious and  graceful  gestures  and  attitudes  and  move- 
ments, free,  unstudied,  barren  of  stiflEness  and 
restraint,  and — 

Just  then,  into  this  dream  of  fairyland  and  para- 
dise a  grating  dissonance  was  injected.  Out  of  a 
missionary  school  came  marching,  two  and  two,  six- 
teen prim  and  pious  little  Christian  black  girls, 
Europeanly  clothed — dressed,  to  the  last  detafl,  as 
they  would  have  been  dressed  on  a  simimer  Simday 
in  an  English  or  American  village.  Those  clothes 
— oh,  they  were  imspeakably  ugly !  Ugly,  barbarous, 
destitute  of  taste,  destitute  of  grace,  repulsive  as  a 
shroud.  I  looked  at  my  women -folk's  clothes — 
just  full-grown  duplicates  of  the  outrages  disguising 
those  poor  little  abused  creatures — and  was  ashamed 
to  be  seen  in  the  street  with  them.  Then  I  looked 
at  my  own  clothes,  and  was  ashamed  to  be  seen  in 
the  street  with  myself. 

However,  we  must  put  up  with  our  clothes  as  they 

lO 


FOLLOWING    THE    EQUATOR 

are — ^they  have  their  reason  for  existing.  They  are 
on  us  to  expose  us — to  advertise  what  we  wear  them 
to  conceal.  They  are  a  sign;  a  sign  of  insincerity; 
a  sign  of  suppressed  vanity;  a  pretense  that  we 
despise  gorgeous  colors  and  the  graces  of  harmony 
and  form;  and  we  put  them  on  to  propagate  that 
He  and  back  it  up.  But  we  do  not  deceive  our 
neighbor;  and  when  we  step  into  Ceylon  we  realize 
that  we  have  not  even  deceived  oiu^elves.  We  do 
love  briUiant  colors  and  graceful  costumes;  and  at 
home  we  will  turn  out  in  a  storm  to  see  them  when 
the  procession  goes  by — and  envy  the  wearers.  We 
go  to  the  theater  to  look  at  them  and  grieve  that  we 
can't  be  clothed  like  that.  We  go  to  the  King's 
ball,  when  we  get  a  chance,  and  are  glad  of  a  sight 
of  the  splendid  uniforms  and  the  glittering  orders. 
When  we  are  granted  permission  to  attend  an  im- 
perial drawing-room  we  shut  oiu*selves  up  in  private 
and  parade  aroimd  in  the  theatrical  coiu*t-dress  by 
the  hour,  and  admire  ourselves  in  the  glass,  and  are 
utterly  happy;  and  every  member  of  every  gover- 
nor's staff  in  democratic  America  does  the  same 
with  his  grand  new  uniform — and  if  he  is  not  watched 
he  will  get  himself  photographed  in  it,  too.  When 
I  see  the  Lord  Mayor's  footman  I  am  dissatisfied 
with  my  lot.  '  Yes,  our  clothes  are  a  lie,  and  have 
been  nothing  short  of  that  these  hundred  years. 
They  are  insincere,  they  are  the  ugly  and  appro- 
priate outward  exposure  of  an  inward  sham  and  a 
moral  decay. 

The  last  little  brown  boy  I  chanced  to  notice  in 
the  crowds  and  swarms  of  Colombo  had  nothing 

II 


MARK     TWAIN 

on  but  a  twine  string  aroiind  his  waist,  but  in  my 
memory  the  frank  honesty  of  his  costimie  still  stands 
out  in  pleasant  contrast  with  the  odious  fliunmery 
in  which  the  little  Sunday-school  dowdies  were 
masquerading. 


CHAPTER  II 

BOMBAY THE  ARABIAN  NIGHTS   COME  AGAIN 

Prosperity  is  the  best  protector  of  principle. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

W7^VENING—i4th.  Sailed  in  the  Rosetta.  This 
JLl/  is  a  poor  old  ship,  and  ought  to  be  insured  and 
sunk.  As  in  the  Oceana,  just  so  here:  everybody 
dresses  for  dinner;  they  make  it  a  sort  of  pious 
duty.  These  fine  and  formal  costumes  are  a  rather 
conspicuous  contrast  to  the  poverty  and  shabbiness 
of  the  surroundings.  ...  If  you  want  a  sHce  of  a 
lime  at  four-o'clock  tea,  you  must  sign  an  order  on 
the  bar.    Limes  cost  fourteen  cents  a  barrel. 

January  i8.  We  have  been  nmning  up  the 
Arabian  Sea,  latterly.  Closing  up  on  Bombay  now, 
and  due  to  arrive  this  evening. 

January  20.  Bombay!  A  bewitching  place,  a 
bewildering  place,  an  enchanting  place — the  Arabian 
Nights  come  again !  It  is  a  vast  city ;  contains  about 
a  million  inhabitants.  Natives,  they  are,  with  a 
slight  sprinkling  of  white  people — not  enough  to  have 
the  slightest  modifying  effect  upon  the  massed  dark 
complexion  of  the  public.  It  is  winter  here,  yet 
the  weather  is  the  divine  weather  of  June,  and  the 
foliage  is  the  fresh  and  heavenly  foliage  of  June. 
There  is  a  rank  of  noble  great  shade  trees  across 
the  way  from  the  hotel,  and  under  them  sit  groups 
of  picturesque  natives  of  both  sexes ;  and  the  juggler 

13 


MARK     TWAIN 

in  his  turban  is  there  with  his  snakes  and  his  magic; 
and  all  day  long  the  cabs  and  the  multitudinous 
varieties  of  costumes  flock  by.  It  does  not  seem  as 
if  one  could  ever  get  tired  of  watching  this  moving 
show,  this  shining  and  shifting  spectacle.  ...  In 
the  great  bazar  the  pack  and  jam  of  natives  was 
marvelous,  the  sea  of  rich-colored  turbans  and 
draperies  an  inspiring  sight,  and  the  quaint  and 
showy  Indian  architecture  was  just  the  right  setting 
for  it.  Toward  sunset  another  show;  this  is  the 
drive  around  the  seashore  to  Malabar  Point,  where 
Lord  Sandhurst,  the  Governor  of  the  Bombay  Presi- 
dency, lives.  Parsee  palaces  all  along  the  first  part 
of  the  drive ;  and  past  them  all  the  world  is  driving ; 
the  private  carriages  of  wealthy  Englishmen  and 
natives  of  rank  are  manned  by  a  driver  and  three 
footmen  in  stunning  oriental  liveries — two  of  these 
turbaned  statues  standing  up  behind,  as  fme  as 
monimients.  Sometimes  even  the  public  carriages 
have  this  superabundant  crew,  slightly  modified — 
one  to  drive,  one  to  sit  by  and  see  it  done,  and  one 
to  stand  up  behind  and  yell — ^yell  when  there  is 
anybody  in  the  way,  and  for  practice  when  there 
isn't.  It  all  helps  to  keep  up  the  liveliness  and 
augment  the  general  sense  of  swiftness  and  energy 
and  confusion  and  pow-wow. 

In  the  region  of  Scandal  Point — felicitous  name 
— where  there  are  handy  rocks  to  sit  on  and  a  noble 
view  of  the  sea  on  the  one  hand,  and  on  the  other 
the  passing  and  repassing  whirl  and  tumult  of  gay 
carriages,  are  great  groups  of  comfortably  off  Parsee 
women — perfect  flower-beds  of  brilliant  color,  a  f asci- 

14 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

nating  spectacle.  Tramp,  tramp,  tramping  along 
the  road,  in  singles,  couples,  groups,  and  gangs,  you 
have  the  working-man  and  the  working- woman — but 
not  clothed  like  ours.  Usually  the  man  is  a  nobly 
built  great  athlete,  with  not  a  rag  on  but  his  loin- 
handkerchief;  his  color  a  deep  dark  brown,  his  skin 
satin,  his  roimded  muscles  knobbing  it  as  if  it  had 
eggs  under  it.  Usually  the  woman  is  a  slender  and 
shapely  creature,  as  erect  as  a  lightning-rod,  and 
she  has  but  one  thing  on — a  bright-colored  piece  of 
stuff  which  is  wound  about  her  head  and  her  body 
down  nearly  half-way  to  her  knees,  and  which  clings 
like  her  own  skin.  Her  legs  and  feet  are  bare,  and  so 
are  her  arms,  except  for  her  fanciful  bunches  of  loose 
silver  rings  on  her  ankles  and  on  her  arms.  She 
has  jewelry  bunched  on  the  side  of  her  nose  also, 
and  showy  cluster-rings  on  her  toes.  When  she 
undresses  for  bed  she  takes  off  her  jewelry,  I  suppose. 
If  she  took  off  anything  more  she  would  catch  cold. 
As  a  rule,  she  has  a  large  shiny  brass  water- jar  of 
graceful  shape  on  her  head,  and  one  of  her  naked 
arms  curves  up  and  the  hand  holds  it  there.  She 
is  so  straight,  so  erect,  and  she  steps  with  such  style, 
and  such  easy  grace  and  dignity;  and  her  curved 
arm  and  her  brazen  jar  are  such  a  help  to  the  picture 
— indeed,  our  working- women  cannot  begin  with  her 
as  a  road  decoration. 

It  is  all  color,  bewitching  color,  enchanting  color — 
everywhere — all  around — all  the  way'  aroimd  the 
curving  great  opaline  bay  clear  to  Government 
House,  where  the  turbaned  big  native  chupr assies 
stand  grouped  in  state  at  the  door  in  their  robes  of 

IS 


MARK     TWAIN 

fiery  red,  and  do  most  properly  and  stunningly  finish 
up  the  splendid  show  and  make  it  theatrically  com- 
plete.   I  wish  I  were  a  chuprassy. 

This  is  indeed  India;  the  land  of  dreams  and  ro- 
mance, of  fabulous  wealth  and  fabulous  poverty, 
of  splendor  and  rags,  of  palaces  and  hovels,  of  famine 
and  pestilence,  of  genii  and  giants  and  Aladdin 
lamps,  of  tigers  and  elephants,  the  cobra  and  the 
jungle,  the  country  of  a  himdred  nations  and  a 
hundred  tongues,  of  a  thousand  religions  and  two 
million  gods,  cradle  of  the  human  race,  birthplace 
of  human  speech,  mother  of  history,  grandmother  of 
legend,  great-grandmother  of  tradition,  whose  yes- 
terdays bear  date  with  the  moldering  antiquities 
of  the  rest  of  the  nations — ^the  one  sole  coimtry  \inder 
the  sun  that  is  endowed  with  an  imperishable  interest 
for  alien  prince  and  alien  peasant,  for  lettered  and 
ignorant,  wise  and  fool,  rich  and  poor,  bond  and  free, 
the  one  land  that  all  men  desire  to  see,  and  having 
seen  once,  by  even  a  glimpse,  would  not  give  that 
glimpse  for  the  shows  of  all  the  rest  of  the  globe 
combined. 

Even  now,  after  the  lapse  of  a  year,  the  delirium 
of  those  days  in  Bombay  has  not  left  me,  and  I  hope 
never  will.  It  was  all  new,  no  detail  of  it  hackneyed. 
And  India  did  not  wait  for  morning,  it  began  at 
the  hotel — straight  away.  The  lobbies  and  halls 
were  full  of  tiirbaned  and  fez*d  and  embroidered, 
cap*d,  and  barefooted,  and  cotton-clad  dark  natives, 
some  of  them  rushing  about,  others  at  rest  squatting, 
or  sitting  on  the  groimd;  some  of  them  chattering 
with  energy,  others  still  and  dreamy;  in  the  dining- 

i6 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

room  every  man's  own  private  native  servant 
standing  behind  his  chair,  and  dressed  for  a  part  in 
the  Arabian  Nights. 

Our  rooms  were  high  up,  on  the  front.  A  white 
man — he  was  a  burly  German — went  up  with  us, 
and  brought  three  natives  along  to  see  to  arranging 
things.  About  fourteen  others  followed  in  proces- 
sion, with  the  hand-baggage ;  each  carried  an  article 
— and  only  one ;  a  bag,  in  some  cases,  in  other  cases 
less.  One  strong  native  carried  my  overcoat,  another 
a  parasol,  another  a  box  of  cigars,  another  a  novel, 
and  the  last  man  in  the  procession  had  no  load 
but  a  fan.  It  was  all  done  with  earnestness  and 
sincerity,  there  was  not  a  smile  in  the  procession 
from  the  head  of  it  to  the  tail  of  it.  Each  man 
waited  patiently,  tranquilly,  in  no  sort  of  htury,  till 
one  of  us  foimd  time  to  give  him  a  copper,  then  he 
bent  his  head  reverently,  touched  his  forehead  with 
his  fingers,  and  went  his  way.  They  seemed  a  soft 
and  gentle  race,  and  there  was  something  both 
winning  and  touching  about  their  demeanor. 

There  was  a  vast  glazed  door  which  opened  upon 
the  balcony.  It  needed  closing,  or  cleaning,  or  some- 
thing, and  a  native  got  down  on  his  knees  and  went 
to  work  at  it.  He  seemed  to  be  doing  it  well  enough, 
but  perhaps  he  wasn't,  for  the  burly  German  put 
on  a  look  that  betrayed  dissatisfaction,  then  without 
explaining  what  was  wrong,  gave  the  native  a  brisk 
cuff  on  the  jaw  and  then  told  him  where  the  defect 
was.  It  seemed  such  a  shame  to  do  that  before  us 
all.  The  native  took  it  with  meekness,  saying 
nothing,  and  not  showing  in  his  face  or  manner  any 

17 


MARK     TWAIN 

resentment.  I  had  not  seen  the  like  of  this  for 
fifty  years.  It  carried  me  back  to  my  boyhood, 
and  flashed  upon  me  the  forgotten  fact  that  this 
was  the  usual  way  of  explaining  one's  desires  to  a 
slave.  I  was  able  to  remember  that  the  method 
seemed  right  and  natural  to  me  in  those  days,  I 
being  bom  to  it  and  unaware  that  elsewhere  there 
were  other  methods ;  but  I  was  also  able  to  remember 
that  those  unresented  cuffings  made  me  sorry  for 
the  victim  and  ashamed  for  the  punisher.  My  father 
was  a  refined  and  kindly  gentleman,  very  grave, 
rather  austere,  of  rigid  probity,  a  sternly  just  and 
upright  man,  albeit  he  attended  no  church  and  never 
spoke  of  religious  matters,  and  had  no  part  nor  lot 
in  the  pious  joys  of  his  Presbyterian  family,  nor  ever 
seemed  to  suffer  from  this  deprivation.  He  laid  his 
hand  upon  me  in  punishment  only  twice  in  his  life, 
and  then  not  heavily;  once  for  telling  him  a  lie — 
which  surprised  me,  and  showed  me  how  unsuspi- 
cious he  was,  for  that  was  not  my  maiden  effort. 
He  punished  me  those  two  times  only,  and  never  any 
other  member  of  the  family  at  all;  yet  every  now 
and  then  he  cuffed  our  harmless  slave-boy,  Lewis, 
for  trifling  little  blunders  and  awkwardnesses.  My 
father  had  passed  his  life  among  the  slaves  from  his 
cradle  up,  and  his  cuffings  proceeded  from  the 
custom  of  the  time,  not  from  his  nature.  When  I 
was  ten  years  old  I  saw  a  man  fling  a  lump  of  iron- 
ore  at  a  slave-man  in  anger,  for  merely  doing  some- 
thing awkwardly — as  if  that  were  a  crime.  It 
bounded  from  the  man's  skull,  and  the  man  fell  and 
never  spoke  again.     He  was  dead  in  an  hour.     I 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

knew  the  man  had  a  right  to  kill  his  slave  if  he 
wanted  to,  and  yet  it  seemed  a  pitiful  thing  and 
somehow  wrong,  though  why  wrong  I  was  not  deep 
enough  to  explain  if  I  had  been  asked  to  do  it. 
Nobody  in  the  village  approved  of  that  miirder,  but 
of  course  no  one  said  much  about  it. 

It  is  ciuious — the  space-annihilating  power  of 
thought.  For  just  one  second,  all  that  goes  to  make 
the  me  in  me  was  in  a  Missourian  village,  on  the 
other  side  of  the  globe,  vividly  seeing  again  these 
forgotten  pictures  of  fifty  years  ago,  and  wholly  un- 
conscious of  all  things  but  just  those;  and  in  the 
next  second  I  was  back  in  Bombay,  and  that  kneeling 
native's  smitten  cheek  was  not  done  tingling  yet! 
Back  to  boyhood — ^fifty  years;  back  to  age  again, 
another  fifty;  and  a  flight  equal  to  the  circimiference 
of  the  globe — all  in  two  seconds  by  the  watch! 

Some  natives — I  don't  remember  how  many — 
went  into  my  bedroom,  now,  and  put  things  to  rights 
and  arranged  the  mosquito-bar,  and  I  went  to  bed  to 
nurse  my  cough.  It  was  about  nine  in  the  evening. 
What  a  state  of  things!  For  three  hours  the  yelling 
and  shouting  of  natives  in  the  hall  continued,  along 
with  the  velvety  patter  of  their  swift  bare  feet — 
what  a  racket  it  was !  They  were  yelling  orders  and 
messages  down  three  flights.  Why,  in  the  matter 
of  noise  it  amounted  to  a  riot,  an  insurrection,  a 
revolution.  And  then  there  were  other  noises  mixed 
up  with  these  and  at  intervals  tremendously  accent- 
ing them — roofs  falling  in,  I  judged,  windows  smash- 
ing, persons  being  murdered,  crows  squawking,  and 
deriding,  and  cursing,  canaries  screeching,  monkeys 

TO 


MARK    TWAIN 

jabbering,  macaws  blaspheming,  and  every  now  and 
then  fiendish  bursts  of  laughter  and  explosions  of 
dynamite.  By  midnight  I  had  suffered  all  the 
different  kinds  of  shocks  there  are,  and  knew  that  I 
could  never  more  be  disturbed  by  them,  either 
isolated  or  in  combination.  Then  came  peace — 
stillness  deep  and  solemn — and  lasted  till  five. 

Then  it  all  broke  loose  again.  And  who  restarted 
it?  The  Bird  of  Birds — the  Indian  crow.  I  came 
to  know  him  well,  by  and  by,  and  be  infatuated  with 
him.  I  suppose  he  is  the  hardest  lot  that  wears 
feathers.  Yes,  and  the  cheerfulest,  and  the  best 
satisfied  with  himself.  He  never  arrived  at  what 
he  is  by  any  careless  process,  or  any  sudden  one; 
he  is  a  work  of  art,  and  "art  is  long";  he  is  the 
product  of  immemorial  ages,  and  of  deep  calculation ; 
one  can't  make  a  bird  like  that  in  a  day.  He  has 
been  reincarnated  more  times  than  Shiva;  and  he 
has  kept  a  sample  of  each  incarnation,  and  fused 
it  into  his  constitution.  In  the  course  of  his  evolu- 
tionary promotions,  his  sublime  march  toward  ulti- 
mate perfection,  he  has  been  a  gambler,  a  low 
comedian,  a  dissolute  priest,  a  fussy  woman,  a  black- 
guard, a  scoffer,  a  liar,  a  thief,  a  spy,  an  informer, 
a  trading  politician,  a  swindler,  a  professional  hypo- 
crite, a  patriot  for  cash,  a  reformer,  a  lect\irer,  a 
lawyer,  a  conspirator,  a  rebel,  a  royalist,  a  democrat, 
a  practicer  and  propagator  of  irreverence,  a  meddler, 
an  intruder,  a  busybody,  an  infidel,  and  a  wallower 
in  sin  for  the  mere  love  of  it.  The  strange  result, 
the  incredible  result,  of  this  patient  accumulation 
of  all  damnable  traits  is,  that  he  does  not  know 

20 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

what  care  is,  he  does  not  know  what  sorrow  is,  he 
does  not  know  what  remorse  is;  his  Hfe  is  one  long 
thundering  ecstasy  of  happiness,  and  he  will  go  to 
his  death  untroubled,  knowing  that  he  will  soon  turn 
up  again  as  an  author  or  something,  and  be  even 
more  intolerably  capable  and  comfortable  than  ever 
he  was  before. 

In  his  straddling  wide  forward-step,  and  his  springy 
sidewise  series  of  hops,  and  his  impudent  air,  and 
his  cunning  way  of  canting  his  head  to  one  side 
upon  occasion,  he  reminds  one  of  the  American 
blackbird.  But  the  sharp  resemblances  stop  there. 
He  is  much  bigger  than  the  blackbird;  and  he  lacks 
the  blackbird's  trim  and  slender  and  beautiful  build 
and  shapely  beak;  and  of  course  his  sober  garb  of 
gray  and  rusty  black  is  a  poor  and  humble  thing 
compared  with  the  splendid  luster  of  the  blackbird's 
metallic  sables  and  shifting  and  flashing  bronze 
glories.  The  blackbird  is  a  perfect  gentleman,  in 
deportment  and  attire,  and  is  not  noisy,  I  believe, 
except  when  holding  religious  services  and  political 
conventions  in  a  tree;  but  this  Indian  sham  Quaker 
is  just  a  rowdy,  and  is  always  noisy  when  awake — 
always  chaffing,  scolding,  scoffing,  laughing,  ripping, 
and  cursing,  and  carrying  on  about  something  or 
other.  I  never  saw  such  a  bird  for  delivering  opin- 
ions. Nothing  escapes  him;  he  notices  everything 
that  happens,  and  brings  out  his  opinion  about  it, 
particularly  if  it  is  a  matter  that  is  none  of  his  busi- 
ness. And  it  is  never  a  mild  opinion  but  always 
violent — violent  and  profane — the  presence  of  ladies 
does  not  affect  him.     His  opinions  are  not  the  out- 

21 


MARK     TWAIN 

come  of  reflection,  for  he  never  thinks  about  any- 
thing, but  heaves  out  the  opinion  that  is  on  top  in 
his  mind,  and  which  is  often  an  opinion  about  some 
quite  different  thing  and  does  not  fit  the  case.  But 
that  is  his  way;  his  main  idea  is  to  get  out  an 
opinion,  and  if  he  stopped  to  think  he  would  lose 
chances. 

I  suppose  he  has  no  enemies  among  men.  The 
whites  and  Mohammedans  never  seemed  to  molest 
him;  and  the  Hindus,  because  of  their  religion, 
never  take  the  life  of  any  creature,  but  spare  even 
the  snakes  and  tigers  and  fleas  and  rats.  If  I  sat 
on  one  end  of  the  balcony,  the  crows  would  gather 
on  the  railing  at  the  other  end  and  talk  about  me; 
and  edge  closer,  little  by  little,  till  I  could  almost 
reach  them;  and  they  would  sit  there,  in  the  most 
unabashed  way,  and  talk  about  my  clothes,  and  my 
hair,  and  my  complexion,  and  probable  character 
and  vocation  and  politics,  and  how  I  came  to  be  in 
India,  and  what  I  had  been  doing,  and  how  many 
days  I  had  got  for  it,  and  how  I  had  happened  to  go 
unhanged  so  long,  and  when  w^ould  it  probably  come 
off,  and  might  there  be  more  of  my  sort  where  I 
came  from,  and  when  would  they  be  hanged — and 
so  on,  and  so  on,  until  I  could  not  longer  endure  the 
embarrassment  of  it;  then  I  wotdd  shoo  them  away, 
and  they  would  circle  around  in  the  air  a  little  while, 
laughing  and  deriding  and  mocking,  and  presently 
settle  on  the  rail  and  do  it  all  over  again. 

They  were  very  sociable  when  there  was  anything 
to  eat — oppressively  so.  With  a  little  encourage- 
ment they  would  come  in  and  light  on  the  table  and 

22 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

help  me  eat  my  breakfast;  and  once  when  I  was  in 
the  other  room  and  they  foimd  themselves  alone, 
they  carried  off  everything  they  could  lift ;  and  they 
were  particular  to  choose  things  which  they  could 
make  no  use  of  after  they  got  them.  In  India  their 
number  is  beyond  estimate,  and  their  noise  is  in 
proportion.  I  suppose  they  cost  the  coimtry  more 
than  the  government  does;  yet  that  is  not  a  light 
matter.  Still,  they  pay;  their  company  pays;  it 
would  sadden  the  land  to  take  their  cheerful  voice 
out  of  it. 


CHAPTER  III 

I  ENJOY  A  DIVINE   CALL 

By  trying  we  can  easily  learn  to  endure  adversity.     Another  man's.  I 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

YOU  soon  find  your  long-ago  dreams  of  India  ris- 
ing in  a  sort  of  vague  and  luscious  moonlight 
above  the  horizon-rim  of  your  opaque  conscious- 
ness, and  softly  lighting  up  a  thousand  forgotten 
details  which  were  parts  of  a  vision  that  had  once 
been  vivid  to  you  when  you  were  a  boy,  and  steeped 
your  spirit  in  tales  of  the  East.  The  barbaric  gor- 
geousnesses,  for  instance ;  and  the  princely  titles,  the 
sumptuous  titles,  the  soimding  titles — ^how  good 
they  taste  in  the  mouth!  The  Nizam  of  Hydera- 
bad; the  Maharajah  of  Travancore;  the  Nabob  of 
Jubbulpore;  the  Begum  of  Bhopal;  the  Nawab 
of  Mysore;  the  Ranee  of  Gulnare;  the  Ahkoond 
of  Swat;  the  Rao  of  Rohilkund;  the  Gaikwar  of 
Baroda.  Indeed,  it  is  a  coimtry  that  runs  richly  to 
name.  The  great  god  Vishnu  has  io8 — io8  special 
ones — 1 08  peculiarly  holy  ones — ^names  just  for 
Sunday  use  only.  I  learned  the  whole  of  Vishnu's 
108  by  heart  once,  but  they  wouldn't  stay;  I  don't 
remember  any  of  them  now  but  John  W. 

And  the  romances  connected  with  those  princely 
native  houses — to  this  day  they  are  always  turning 
up,  just  as  in  the  old,  old  times.    They  were  sweating 

24 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

out  a  romance  in  an  English  court  in  Bombay  a 
while  before  we  w^  there.  In  this  case  a  native 
prince,  sixteen  and  a  half  years  old,  who  had  been 
enjoying  his  titles  and  dignities  and  estates  unmo- 
lested for  fourteen  years,  is  suddenly  haled  into 
court  on  the  charge  that  he  is  rightfully  no  prince 
at  all,  but  a  pauper  peasant;  that  the  real  prince  died 
when  two  and  one-half  years  old;  that  the  death 
was  concealed,  and  a  peasant  child  smuggled  into 
the  royal  cradle,  and  that  this  present  incumbent 
was  that  smuggled  substitute.  This  is  the  very 
material  that  so  many  oriental  tales  have  been  made 
of. 

The  case  of  that  great  prince,  the  Gaikwar  of 
Baroda,  is  a  reversal  of  the  theme.  When  that 
throne  fell  vacant,  no  heir  could  be  foimd  for  some 
time,  but  at  last  one  was  found  in  the  person  of  a 
peasant  child  who  was  making  mud  pies  in  a  village 
street,  and  having  an  innocent  good  time.  But  his 
pedigree  was  straight;  he  was  the  true  prince,  and  he 
has  reigned  ever  since,  with  none  to  dispute  his  right. 

Lately  there  was  another  himt  for  an  heir  to  an- 
other princely  house,  and  one  was  foimd  who  was 
circumstanced  about  as  the  Gaikwar  had  been.  His 
fathers  were  traced  back,  in  humble  life,  along  a 
branch  of  the  ancestral  tree  to  the  point  where  it 
joined  the  stem  fourteen  generations  ago,  and  his 
heirship  was  thereby  squarely  established.  The 
tracing  was  done  by  means  of  the  records  of  one  of 
the  great  Hindu  shrines,  where  princes  on  pilgrimage 
record  their  names  and  the  date  of  their  visit.  This 
is  to  keep  the  prince's  religious  account  straight,  and 

25 


MARK     TWAIN 

his  spiritual  person  safe ;  but  the  record  has  the  added 
value  of  keeping  the  pedigree  authentic,  too. 

When  I  think  of  Bombay  now,  at  this  distance  of 
time,  I  seem  to  have  a  kaleidoscope  at  my  eye;  and 
I  hear  the  clash  of  the  glass  bits  as  the  splendid 
figures  change,  and  fall  apart,  and  flash  into  new 
forms,  figure  after  figure,  and  with  the  birth  of  each 
new  form  I  feel  my  skin  crinkle  and  my  nerve-web 
tingle  with  a  new  thrill  of  wonder  and  delight. 
These  reijiembered  pictures  float  past  me  in  a 
sequence  of  contrasts;  following  the  same  order 
always,  and  always  whirling  by  and  disappearing 
with  the  swiftness  of  a  dream,  leaving  me  with  the 
sense  that  the  actuality  was  the  experience  of  an 
hour,  at  most,  whereas  it  really  covered  days,  I 
think. 

The  series  begins  with  the  hiring  of  a  "bearer" — 
native  man-servant — a  person  who  should  be  selected 
with  some  care,  because  as  long  as  he  is  in  your 
employ  he  will  be  about  as  near  to  you  as  your 
clothes. 

In  India  your  day  may  be  said  to  begin  with  the 
** bearer's"  knock  on  the  bedroom  door,  accom- 
panied by  a  formula  of  words — a  formula  which  is 
intended  to  mean  that  the  bath  is  ready.  It  doesn't 
really  seem  to  mean  anything  at  all.  But  that  is  be- 
cause you  are  not  used  to  ** bearer"  English.  You 
will  presently  understand. 

Where  he  gets  his  English  is  his  own  secret. 
There  is  nothing  like  it  elsewhere  in  the  earth;  or 
even  in  paradise,  perhaps,  but  the  other  place  is 
probably  full  of  it.     You  hire  him  as  soon  as  you 

26 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

touch  Indian  soil;  for  no  matter  what  your  sex  is, 
you  cannot  do  without  him.  He  is  messenger,  valet, 
chambermaid,  table- waiter,  lady's  maid,  courier — he 
is  everything.  He  carries  a  coarse  linen  clothes-bag 
and  a  quilt;  he  sleeps  on  the  stone  floor  outside 
your  chamber  door,  and  gets  his  meals  you  do  not 
know  where  nor  when ;  you  only  know  that  he  is  not 
fed  on  the  premises,  either  when  you  are  in  a  hotel 
or  when  you  are  a  guest  in  a  private  house.  His 
wages  are  large — from  an  Indian  point  of  view — 
and  he  feeds  and  clothes  himself  out  of  them.  We 
had  three  of  him  in  two  and  a  half  months.  The 
first  one's  rate  was  thirty  rupees  a  month — that  is 
to  say,  twenty-seven  cents  a  day;  the  rate  of  the 
others,  Rs.  40  (40  rupees)  a  month.  A  princely 
simi;  for  the  native  switchman  on  a  railway  and  the 
native  servant  in  a  private  family  get  only  Rs.  7  per 
month,  and  the  farm-hand  only  four.  The  two 
former  feed  and  clothe  themselves  and  their  families 
on  their  $1.90  per  month;  but  I  cannot  believe  that 
the  farm-hand  has  to  feed  himself  on  his  $1.08.  I 
think  the  farm  probably  feeds  him,  and  that  the 
whole  of  his  wages,  except  a  trifle  for  the  priest,  goes 
to  the  support  of  his  family.  That  is,  to  the  feeding 
of  his  family;  for  they  live  in  a  mud  hut,  hand-made, 
and,  doubtless,  rent-free,  and  they  wear  no  clothes; 
at  least,  nothing  more  than  a  rag.  And  not  much 
of  a  rag  at  that,  in  the  case  of  the  males.  However, 
these  are  handsome  times  for  the  farm-hand;  he 
was  not  always  the  child  of  luxury  that  he  is  now. 
The  Chief  Commissioner  of  the  Central  Provinces, 
in  a  recent  official  utterance  wherein  he  was  rebuk- 

27 


MARK     TWAIN 

ing  a  native  deputation  for  complaining  of  hard 
times,  reminded  them  that  they  could  easily  remem- 
ber when  a  farm-hand's  wages  were  only  half  a  rupee 
(former  value)  a  month — that  is  to  say,  less  than 
a  cent  a  day;  nearly  $2.90  a  year.  If  such  a  wage- 
earner  had  a  good  deal  of  a  family — and  they  all 
have  that,  for  God  is  very  good  to  these  poor  natives 
in  some  ways — he  would  save  a  profit  of  fifteen 
cents,  clean  and  clear,  out  of  his  year's  toil ;  I  mean 
a  frugal,  thrifty  person  would,  not  one  given  to  dis- 
play and  ostentation.  And  if  he  owed  $13.50  and 
took  good  care  of  his  health,  he  could  pay  it  off  in 
ninety  years.  Then  he  could  hold  up  his  head  and 
look  his  creditors  in  the  face  again. 

Think  of  these  facts  and  what  they  mean.  India 
does  not  consist  of  cities.  There  are  no  cities  in 
India — to  speak  of.  Its  stupendous  population  con- 
sists of  farm-laborers.  India  is  one  vast  farm — 
one  almost  interminable  stretch  of  fields  with  mud 
fences  between.  Think  of  the  above  facts;  and 
consider  what  an  incredible  aggregate  of  poverty 
they  place  before  you. 

The  first  Bearer  that  applied  waited  below  and 
sent  up  his  recommendations.  That  was  the  first 
morning  in  Bombay.  We  read  them  over;  care- 
fully, cautiously,  thoughtfully.  There  was  not  a 
fault  to  find  with  them — except  one;  they  were  all 
from  Americans.  Is  that  a  slur?  If  it  is,  it  is  a 
deserved  one.  In  my  experience,  an  American's  rec- 
ommendation of  a  servant  is  not  usually  valuable. 
We  are  too  good-natured  a  race-;  we  hate  to  say  the 
impleasant  thing;   we  shrink  from  speaking  the  un- 

2S 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

kind  truth  about  a  poor  fellow  whose  bread  depends 
upon  our  verdict;  so  we  speak  of  his  good  points 
only,  thus  not  scrupling  to  tell  a  lie — a  silent  lie — 
for  in  not  mentioning  his  bad  ones  we  as  good  as 
say  he  hasn't  any.  The  only  difference  that  I  know 
of  between  a  silent  lie  and  a  spoken  one  is,  that  the 
silent  lie  is  a  less  respectable  one  than  the  other. 
And  it  can  deceive,  whereas  the  other  can't — as  a 
rule.  We  not  only  tell  the  silent  lie  as  to  a  servant's 
faults,  but  we  sin  in  another  way :  we  overpraise  his 
merits;  for  when  it  comes  to  writing  recommenda- 
tions of  servants  we  are  a  nation  of  gushers.  And 
we  have  not  the  Frenchman's  excuse.  In  France 
you  must  give  the  departing  servant  a  good  recom- 
mendation; and  you  must  conceal  his  faults;  you 
have  no  choice.  If  you  mention  his  faults  for  the 
protection  of  the  next  candidate  for  his  services,  he 
can  sue  you  for  damages;  and  the  court  will  award 
them,  too;  and,  moreover,  the  judge  will  give  you  a 
sharp  dressing-down  from  the  bench  for  trying  to 
destroy  a  poor  man's  character  and  rob  him  of  his 
bread.  I  do  not  state  this  on  my  own  authority,  I 
got  it  from  a  French  physician  of  fame  and  repute 
— a  man  who  was  bom  in  Paris,  and  had  practised 
there  all  his  life.  And  he  said  that  he  spoke  not 
merely  from  common  knowledge,  but  from  exasper- 
ating personal  experience. 

As  I  was  saying,  the  Bearer's  recommendations 
were  all  from  American  tourists;  and  St.  Peter 
would  have  admitted  him  to  the  fields  of  the  blest 
on  them — I  mean  if  he  is  as  imfanuliar  with  our 
people  and  our  ways  as  I  suppose  he  is.    According 

29 


MARK     TWAIN 

to  these  recommendations,  Manuel  X  was  supreme 
in  all  the  arts  connected  with  his  complex  trade; 
and  these  manifold  arts  were  mentioned — and 
praised — in  detail.  His  English  was  spoken  of  in 
terms  of  warm  admiration — admiration  verging  upon 
rapture.  I  took  pleased  note  of  that,  and  hoped 
that  some  of  it  might  be  true. 

We  had  to  have  some  one  right  away;  so  the 
family  went  down-stairs  and  took  him  a  week  on 
trial ;  then  sent  him  up  to  me  and  departed  on  their 
affairs.  I  was  shut  up  in  my  quarters  with  a  bron- 
chial cough,  and  glad  to  have  something  fresh  to 
look  at,  something  new  to  play  with.  Manuel  filled 
the  bill ;  Manuel  was  very  welcome.  He  was  toward 
fifty  years  old,  tall,  slender,  with  a  slight  stoop — an 
artificial  stoop,  a  deferential  stoop,  a  stoop  rigidified 
by  long  habit — with  face  of  European  mold;  short 
hair,  intensely  black;  gentle  black  eyes,  timid  black 
eyes,  indeed;  complexion  very  dark,  nearly  black  in 
fact;  face  smooth-shaven.  He  was  bareheaded  and 
barefooted,  and  was  never  otherwise  while  his  week 
with  us  lasted;  his  clothing  was  European,  cheap, 
flimsy,  and  showed  much  wear. 

He  stood  before  me  and  inclined  his  head  (and  body) 
in  the  pathetic  Indian  way,  touching  his  forehead  with 
the  finger-ends  of  his  right  hand,  in  salute.     I  said : 

"Manuel,  you  are  evidently  Indian,  but  you  seem 
to  have  a  Spanish  name  when  you  put  it  all  together. 
How  is  that?" 

A  perplexed  look  gathered  in  his  face;  it  was 
plain  that  he  had  not  understood — but  he  didn't  let 
on.    He  spoke  back  placidly: 

30 


FOLLOWING    THE     EQUATOR 

'*Name,  Manuel.    Yes,  master.** 

**I  know;  but  how  did  you  get  the  name?" 

"Oh,  yes,  I  suppose.  Think  happen  so.  Father 
same  name,  not  mother." 

I  saw  that  I  must  simplify  my  language  and  spread 
my  words  apart,  if  I  would  be  understood  by  this 
English  scholar. 

"Well  —  then  —  how  —  did  —  your  —  father  — 
get  —  his  —  name  ?" 

"Oh,  he"— brightening  a  little— "he  Christian— 
Forty  gee;  live  in  Goa;  I  bom  Goa;  mother  not 
Forty  gee,  mother  native — high-caste  Brahman — 
Coolin  Brahman;  highest  caste;  no  other  so  high 
caste.  I  high-caste  Brahman,  too.  Christian,  too, 
same  like  father;  high -caste  Christian  Brahman, 
master — Salvation  Army." 

All  this  haltingly,  and  with  difficulty.  Then  he 
had  an  inspiration,  and  began  to  pour  out  a  flood  of 
words  that  I  could  make  nothing  of;  so  I  said: 

"There — don't  do  that.  I  can't  understand 
Hindustani." 

"Not  Hindustani,  master — English.  Always  I 
speaking  English  sometimes  when  I  talking  every  day 
all  the  time  at  you." 

"Very  well,  stick  to  that;  that  is  intelligible.  It 
is  not  up  to  my  hopes,  it  is  not  up  to  the  promise 
of  the  recommendations,  stiU  it  is  English,  and  I 
imderstand  it.  Don't  elaborate  it;  I  don't  like 
elaborations  when  they  are  crippled  by  uncertainty 
of  touch." 

"Master?" 

"Oh,  never  mind;  it  was  only  a  random  thought; 

31 


MARK     TWAIN 

I  didn't  expect  you  to  understand  it.  How  did  you 
get  your  English;  is  it  an  acquirement,  or  just  a  gift 
of  God?" 

After  some  hesitation — piously : 

"Yes,  he  very  good.  Christian  god  very  good; 
Hindu  god  very  good,  too.  Two  million  Hindu 
god,  one  Christian  god — make  two  million  and  one. 
All  mine;  two  million  and  one  god.  I  got  a  plenty. 
Sometime  I  pray  all  time  at  those,  keep  it  up,  go 
all  time  every  day;  give  something  at  shrine,  all 
good  for  me,  make  me  better  man;  good  for  me, 
good  for  my  family,  dam  good." 

Then  he  had  another  inspiration,  and  went  ram- 
bling off  into  fervent  confusions  and  incoherencies, 
and  I  had  to  stop  him  again.  I  thought  we  had 
talked  enough,  so  I  told  him  to  go  to  the  bathroom 
and  clean  it  up  and  remove  the  slops — this  to  get 
rid  of  him.  He  went  away,  seeming  to  imderstand, 
and  got  out  some  of  my  clothes  and  began  to  brush 
them.  I  repeated  my  desire  several  times,  simplify- 
ing and  resimplifying  it,  and  at  last  he  got  the  idea. 
Then  he  went  away  and  put  a  coolie  at  the  work, 
and  explained  that  he  would  lose  caste  if  he  did  it 
himself;  it  would  be  pollution,  by  the  law  of  his 
caste,  and  it  would  cost  him  a  deal  of  fuss  and  trouble 
to  purify  himself  and  accomplish  his  rehabilitation. 
He  said  that  that  kind  of  work  was  strictly  forbidden 
to  persons  of  caste,  and  as  strictly  restricted  to  the 
very  bottom  layer  of  Hindu  society — the  despised 
Stidra  (the  toiler,  the  laborer).  He  was  right;  and 
apparently  the  poor  Sudra  has  been  content  with  his 
strange  lot,  his  insulting  distinction,  for  ages  and 

32 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

ages — clear  back  to  the  beginning  of  things,  so  to 
speak.  Buckle  says  that  his  name — laborer — is  a 
term  of  contempt;  that  it  is  ordained  by  the  Insti- 
tutes of  Menu  (900  B.C.)  that  ij  a  Sudra  sit  on  a 
level  with  his  superior  he  shall  he  exiled  or  branded^ 
.  .  .  ;  if  he  speak  contemptuously  of  his  superior 
or  insult  him  he  shall  suffer  death;  if  he  listen  to  the 
reading  of  the  sacred  hooks  he  shall  have  burning 
oil  poured  in  his  ears;  if  he  memorize  passages  from 
them  he  shall  be  killed;  if  he  marry  his  daughter  to 
a  Brahman  the  husband  shall  go  to  hell  for  defiling 
himself  by  contact  with  a  woman  so  infinitely  his 
inferior;  and  that  it  is  forbidden  to  a  Sudra  to  acquire 
wealth,  "The  bulk  of  the  population  of  India," 
says  Buckle,^  "is  the  Sudras — the  worker Sy  the 
farmers,  the  creators  of  wealth.'' 

Manuel  was  a  failure,  poor  old  fellow.  His  age 
was  against  him.  He  was  desperately  slow  and 
phenomenally  forgetful.  When  he  went  three  blocks 
on  an  errand  he  would  be  gone  two  hours,  and  then 
forget  what  it  was  he  went  for.  When  he  packed  a 
tnmk  it  took  him  forever,  and  the  trunk's  contents 
were  an  imimaginable  chaos  when  he  got  done. 
He  couldn't  wait  satisfactorily  at  table — a  prime 
defect,  for  if  you  haven't  your  own  servant  in  an 
Indian  hotel  you  are  likely  to  have  a  slow  time  of 
it  and  go  away  hungry.  We  couldn't  vmderstand 
his  English;  he  couldn't  understand  ours;  and  when 
we  found  that  he  couldn't  imderstand  his  own,  it 

*  Without  going  into  particulars,  I  will  remark  that,  as  a  rule, 
they  wear  no  clothing  that  would  conceal  the  brand. — M.  T. 

*  Population  to-day,  300,000,000. 

33 


MARK     TWAIN 

seemed  time  for  us  to  part.  I  had  to  discharge 
him;  there  was  no  help  for  it.  But  I  did  it  as 
kindly  as  I  could,  and  as  gently.  We  must  part, 
said  I,  but  I  hoped  we  should  meet  again  in  a  better 
world.  It  was  not  true,  but  it  was  only  a  little  thing 
to  say,  and  saved  his  feelings  and  cost  me  nothing. 

But  now  that  he  was  gone,  and  was  off  my  mind 
and  heart,  my  spirits  began  to  rise  at  once,  and  I 
was  soon  feeHng  brisk  and  ready  to  go  out  and  have 
adventures.  Then  his  newly  hired  successor  flitted 
in,  touched  his  forehead,  and  began  to  fly  around 
here,  there,  and  everywhere,  on  his  velvet  feet,  and 
in  five  minutes  he  had  everything  in  the  room  **  ship- 
shape and  Bristol  fashion,"  as  the  sailors  say,  and 
was  standing  at  the  salute,  waiting  for  orders.  Dear 
me,  what  a  rustler  he  was  after  the  slimibrous  way 
of  Manuel,  poor  old  slug!  All  my  heart,  all  my 
affection,  all  my  admiration,  went  out  spontaneously 
to  this  frisky  Httle  forked  black  thing,  this  compact 
and  compressed  incarnation  of  energy  and  force  and 
promptness  and  celerity  and  confidence,  this  smart, 
smily,  engaging,  shiny-eyed  Httle  devil,  feruled  on 
his  upper  end  by  a  gleaming  fire-coal  of  a  fez  with 
a  red-hot  tassel  dangling  from  it.  I  said,  with  deep 
satisfaction : 

*' You'll  suit.    What  is  your  name?" 

He  reeled  it  mellowly  off. 

"Let  me  see  if  I  can  make  a  selection  out  of  it — 
for  business  uses,  I  mean;  we  will  keep  the  rest  for 
Sundays.    Give  it  to  me  in  instalments." 

He  did  it.  But  there  did  not  seem  to  be  any  short 
ones,  except  Mousa — which  suggested  mouse.     It 

34 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

was  out  of  character;  it  was  too  soft,  too  quiet,  too 
conservative;  it  didn't  fit  his  splendid  style.  I 
considered,  and  said: 

"Mousa  is  short  enough,  but  I  don't  quite  like  it. 
It  seems  colorless — inharmonious — inadequate;  and 
I  am  sensitive  to  such  things.  How  do  you  think 
Satan  would  do?" 

*'Yes,  master.    Satan  do  wair  good." 
It  was  his  way  of  saying  "very  good." 
There  was  a  rap  at  the  door.    Satan  covered  the 
groimd  with  a  single  skip;   there  was  a  word  or  two 
of  Hindustani,  then  he  disappeared.    Three  minutes 
later  he  was  before  me  again,  mihtarily  erect,  and 
waiting  for  me  to  speak  first. 
**Whatisit,  Satan?" 
*'God  want  to  see  you." 

''Whor 

"God.    I  show  him  up,  master?" 

**Why,  this  is  so  imusual,  that — that — well,  you 
see — indeed  I  am  so  unprepared — I  don't  quite 
know  what  I  do  mean.  Dear  me,  can't  you  ex- 
plain?   Don't  you  see  that  this  is  a  most  ex — " 

"Here  his  card,  master." 

Wasn't  it  curious — and  amazing,  and  tremendous, 
and  all  that?  Such  a  personage  going  around  call- 
ing on  such  as  I,  and  sending  up  his  card,  like  a 
mortal — sending  it  up  by  Satan.  It  was  a  bewilder- 
ing collision  of  the  impossibles.  But  this  was  the 
land  of  the  Arabian  Nights,  this  was  India!  and 
what  is  it  that  cannot  happen  in  India? 

We  had  the  interview.  Satan  was  right — the 
Visitor  was  indeed  a  God  in  the  conviction  of  his 

35 


MARK     TWAIN 

multitudinous  followers,  and  was  worshiped  by  them 
in  sincerity  and  humble  adoration.  They  are  trou- 
bled by  no  doubts  as  to  his  divine  origin  and  office. 
They  believe  in  him,  they  pray  to  him,  they  make 
offerings  to  him,  they  beg  of  him  remission  of  sins; 
to  them  his  person,  together  with  everything  con- 
nected with  it,  is  sacred;  from  his  barber  they  buy 
the  parings  of  his  nails  and  set  them  in  gold,  and 
wear  them  as  precious  amulets. 

I  tried  to  seem  tranqiiilly  conversational  and  at 
rest,  but  I  was  not.  Would  you  have  been?  I  was 
in  a  suppressed  frenzy  of  excitement  and  curiosity 
and  glad  wonder.  I  could  not  keep  my  eyes  off 
him.  I  was  looking  upon  a  god,  an  actual  god,  a 
recognized  and  accepted  god ;  and  every  detail  of  his 
person  and  his  dress  had  a  consuming  interest  for 
me.  And  the  thought  went  floating  through  my 
head,  "He  is  worshiped — think  of  it — he  is  not  a 
recipient  of  the  pale  homage  called  compliment, 
wherewith  the  highest  human  clay  must  make  shift 
to  be  satisfied,  but  of  an  infinitely  richer  spiritual 
food:  adoration,  worship! — men  and  women  lay 
their  cares  and  their  griefs  and  their  broken  hearts 
at  his  feet;  and  he  gives  them  his  peace,  and  they 
go  away  healed.'* 

And  just  then  the  Awful  Visitor  said,  in  the  sim- 
plest way: 

"There  is  a  feature  of  the  philosophy  of  Huck 
Finn  which" — and  went  luminously  on  with  the 
construction  of  a  compact  and  nicely  discriminated 
literary  verdict. 

It  is  a  land  of  surprises — India!    I  had  had  my 

36 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

ambitions — I  had  hoped,  and  almost  expected,  to 
be  read  by  kings  and  presidents  and  emperors — 
but  I  had  never  looked  so  high  as  That.  It  would  be 
false  modesty  to  pretend  that  I  was  not  inordinately 
pleased.  I  was.  I  was  much  more  pleased  than 
I  should  have  been  with  a  compliment  from  a  man. 

He  remained  half  an  hour,  and  I  found  him  a  most 
courteous  and  charming  gentleman.  The  godship 
has  been  in  his  family  a  good  while,  but  I  do  not 
know  how  long.  He  is  a  Mohammedan  deity;  by 
earthly  rank  he  is  a  prince;  not  an  Indian  but  a 
Persian  prince.  He  is  a  direct  descendant  of  the 
Prophet's  line.  He  is  comely;  also  young — for  a 
god;  not  forty,  perhaps  not  above  thirty-five  years 
old.  He  wears  his  immense  honors  with  tranquil 
grace,  and  with  a  dignity  propei"  to  his  awful  calling. 
He  speaks  English  with  the  ease  and  purity  of  a 
person  bom  to  it.  I  think  I  am  not  overstating  this. 
He  was  the  only  god  I  had  ever  seen,  and  I  was 
very  favorably  impressed.  When  he  rose  to  say 
good-by,  the  door  swung  open  and  I  caught  the 
flash  of  a  red  fez,  and  heard  these  words,  reverently 
said: 

"Satan  see  God  out?" 

"Yes."  And  these  mismated  Beings  passed  from 
view — Satan  in  the  lead  and  The  Other  following 
after. 


CHAPTER  IV 

MAJESTY   OF  THE   TOWERS   OF   SILENCE 

Pew  of  us  can  stand  prosperity.     Another  man's,  I  mean. 

— Pudd'nhcad  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

THE  next  picture  in  my  mind  is  Government 
House,  on  Malabar  Point,  with  the  wide  sea 
view  from  the  windows  and  broad  balconies;  abode 
of  his  Excellency  the  Governor  of  the  Bombay 
Presidency — a  residence  which  is  European  in  every- 
thing but  the  native  guards  and  servants,  and  is  a 
home  and  a  palace  of  state  harmoniously  combined. 

That  was  England,  the  English  power,  the  Eng- 
lish civilization,  the  modem  civilization — with  the 
quiet  elegancies  and  quiet  colors  and  quiet  tastes 
and  quiet  dignity  that  are  the  outcome  of  the  modem 
cultivation.  And  following  it  came  a  picture  of  the 
ancient  civilization  of  India — an  hour  in  the  mansion 
of  a  native  prince:  Kumar  Schri  Samatsinhji  Baha- 
dur of  the  Palitana  State. 

The  yoimg  lad,  his  heir,  was  with  the  prince; 
also,  the  lad's  sister,  a  wee  brown  sprite,  ver>'  pretty, 
very  serious,  very  winning,  delicately  molded,  cos- 
timied  like  the  daintiest  butterfly,  a  dear  little  fairy- 
land princess,  gravely  willing  to  be  friendly  with  the 
strangers,  but  in  the  beginning  preferring  to  hold  her 
father's  hand  until  she  could  take  stock  of  them  and 
determine  how  far  they  were  to  be  trusted.  She 
must  have  been  eight  years  old;    so  in  the  natural 

38 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

(Indian)  order  of  things  she  would  be  a  bride  in 
three  or  four  years  from  now,  and  then  this  free 
contact  with  the  sun  and  the  air  and  the  other 
belongings  of  outdoor  nature  and  comradeship  with 
visiting  male  folk  would  end,  and  she  would  shut 
herself  up  in  the  zenana  for  life,  like  her  mother, 
and  by  inherited  habit  of  mind  would  be  happy  in 
that  seclusion  and  not  look  upon  it  as  an  irksome 
restraint  and  a  weary  captivity. 

The  game  which  the  prince  amuses  his  leisure 
with — ^however,  never  mind  it,  I  should  never  be 
able  to  describe  it  intelligibly.  I  tried  to  get  an 
idea  of  it  while  my  wife  and  daughter  visited  the 
princess  in  the  zenana,  a  lady  of  charming  graces 
and  a  fluent  speaker  of  EngHsh,  but  I  did  not  make 
it  out.  It  is  a  complicated  game,  and  I  believe  it  is 
said  that  nobody  can  learn  to  play  it  well  but  an 
Indian.  And  I  was  not  able  to  learn  how  to  wind  a 
turban.  It  seemed  a  simple  art  and  easy;  but  that 
was  a  deception.  It  is  a  piece  of  thin,  delicate 
stuff  a  foot  wide  or  more,  and  forty  or  fifty  feet 
long;  and  the  exhibitor  of  the  art  takes  one  end  of 
it  in  his  two  hands,  and  winds  it  in  and  out  intri- 
cately about  his  head,  twisting  it  as  he  goes,  and  in 
a  minute  or  two  the  thing  is  finished,  and  is  neat 
and  symmetrical  and  fits  as  snugly  as  a  mold. 

We  were  interested  in  the  wardrobe  and  the 
jewels,  and  in  the  silverware,  and  its  grace  of  shape 
and  beauty  and  delicacy  of  ornamentation.  The 
silverware  is  kept  locked  up,  except  at  meal-times, 
and  none  but  the  chief  butler  and  the  prince  have 
keys  to  the  safe.    I  did  not  clearly  understand  why, 

39 


MARK     TWAIN 

but  it  was  not  for  the  protection  of  the  silver.  It 
was  either  to  protect  the  prince  from  the  contamina- 
tion which  his  caste  would  suffer  if  the  vessels  were 
touched  by  low-caste  hands,  or  it  was  to  protect  his 
highness  from  poison.  Possibly  it  was  both.  I 
beHeve  a  salaried  taster  has  to  taste  everything  be- 
fore the  prince  ventures  it — an  ancient  and  judicious 
custom  in  the  East,  which  has  thinned  out  the  tasters 
a  good  deal,  for  of  course  it  is  the  cook  that  puts 
the  poison  in.  If  I  were  an  Indian  prince  I  would 
not  go  to  the  expense  of  a  taster,  I  would  eat  with 
the  cook. 

Ceremonials  are  always  interesting;  and  I  noted 
that  the  Indian  good-morning  is  a  ceremonial, 
whereas  ours  doesn't  amoimt  to  that.  In  salutation 
the  son  reverently  touches  the  father's  forehead  with 
a  small  silver  implement  tipped  with  vermiHon  paste 
which  leaves  a  red  spot  there,  and  in  return  the  son 
receives  the  father's  blessing.  Our  good-morning 
is  well  enough  for  the  rowdy  West,  perhaps,  but 
would  be  too  brusque  for  the  soft  and  ceremonious 
East. 

After  being  properly  necklaced,  according  to  cus- 
tom, with  great  garlands  made  of  yellow  flowers,  and 
provided  with  betel-nut  to  chew,  this  pleasant  visit 
closed,  and  we  passed  thence  to  a  scene  of  a  different 
sort:  from  this  glow  of  color  and  this  simny  life  to 
those  grim  receptacles  of  the  Parsee  dead,  the  Tow- 
ers of  Silence.  There  is  something  stately  about 
that  name,  and  an  impressiveness  which  sinks  deep; 
the  hush  of  death  is  in  it.  We  have  the  Grave,  the 
Tomb,  the  Mausoleum,  God's  Acre,  the  Cemetery: 

40 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  association  has  made  them  eloquent  with 
solemn  meaning;  but  we  have  no  name  that  is  so 
majestic  as  that  one,  or  lingers  upon  the  ear  with 
such  deep  and  haunting  pathos. 

On  lofty  ground,  in  the  midst  of  a  paradise  of 
tropical  foliage  and  flowers,  remote  from  the  world 
and  its  turmoil  and  noise,  they  stood — the  Towers 
of  Silence;  and  away  below  were  spread  the  wide 
groves  of  cocoa-palms,  then  the  city,  mile  on  mile, 
then  the  ocean  with  its  fleets  of  creeping  ships — all 
steeped  in  a  stillness  as  deep  as  the  hush  that  hal- 
lowed this  high  place  of  the  dead.  The  vultures 
were  there.  They  stood  close  together  in  a  great 
circle  all  around  the  rim  of  a  massive  low  tower — 
waiting;  stood  as  motionless  as  sculptured  orna- 
ments, and  indeed  almost  deceived  one  into  the 
belief  that  that  was  what  they  were.  Presently 
there  was  a  slight  stir  among  the  score  of  persons 
present,  and  all  moved  reverently  out  of  the  path 
and  ceased  from  talking.  A  funeral  procession  en- 
tered the  great  gate,  marching  two  and  two,  and 
moved  silently  by,  toward  the  Tower.  The  corpse  lay 
in  a  shallow  shell,  and  was  under  cover  of  a  white 
cloth,  but  was  otherwise  naked.  The  bearers  of  the 
body  were  separated  by  an  interval  of  thirty  feet 
from  the  mourners.  They,  and  also  the  motuners, 
were  draped  all  in  pure  white,  and  each  couple  of 
mourners  was  figuratively  bound  together  by  a  piece 
of  white  rope  or  a  handkerchief — though  they 
merely  held  the  ends  of  it  in  their  hands.  Behind 
the  procession  followed  a  dog,  which  was  led  in  a 
leash.    When  the  mourners  had  reached  the  neigh- 

41 


MARK     TWAIN 

borhood  of  the  Tower — neither  they  nor  any  other 
human  being  but  the  bearers  of  the  dead  must 
approach  within  thirty  feet  of  it-^they  turned  and 
went  back  to  one  of  the  prayer-houses  within  the 
gates,  to  pray  for  the  spirit  of  their  dead.  The 
bearers  imlocked  the  Tower's  sole  door  and  disap- 
peared from  view  within.  In  a  little  while  they 
came  out  bringing  the  bier  and  the  white  covering- 
cloth,  and  locked  the  door  again.  Then  the  ring  of 
vultures  rose,  flapping  their  wings,  and  swooped 
down  into  the  Tower  to  devour  the  body.  Nothing 
was  left  of  it  but  a  clean-picked  skeleton  when  they 
flocked  out  again  a  few  minutes  afterward. 

The  principle  which  underlies  and  orders  every- 
thing connected  with  a  Parsee  fimeral  is  Purity.  By 
the  tenets  of  the  Zoroastrian  religion,  the  elements. 
Earth,  Fire,  and  Water,  are  sacred,  and  must  not  be 
contaminated  by  contact  with  a  dead  body.  Hence 
corpses  must  not  be  burned,  neither  must  they  be 
buried.  None  may  touch  the  dead  or  enter  the 
Towers  where  they  repose  except  certain  men  who 
are  officially  appointed  for  that  purpose.  They 
receive  high  pay,  but  theirs  is  a  dismal  life,  for  they 
must  live  apart  from  their  species,  because  their 
commerce  with  the  dead  defiles  them,  and  any  who 
should  associate  with  them  would  share  their  defile- 
ment. When  they  come  out  of  the  Tower  the  clothes 
they  are  wearing  are  exchanged  for  others,  in  a 
building  within  the  grounds,  and  the  ones  which 
they  have  taken  off  are  left  behind,  for  they  are 
contaminated,  and  must  never  be  used  again  or 
suffered  to  go  outside  the  grounds.     These  bearers 

42 


FOLLOWING    THE    EQUATOR 

come  to  every  funeral  in  new  garments.  So  far  as 
is  known,  no  human  being,  other  than  an  official 
corpse-bearer — save  one — has  ever  entered  a  Tower 
of  Silence  after  its  consecration.  Just  a  hundred 
years  ago  a  European  rushed  in  behind  the  bearers 
and  fed  his  brutal  curiosity  with  a  glimpse  of  the 
forbidden  mysteries  of  the  place.  This  shabby 
savage's  name  is  not  given;  his  quality  is  also  con- 
cealed. These  two  details,  taken  in  connection  with 
the  fact  that  for  his  extraordinary  offense  the  only 
pimishment  he  got  from  the  East  India  Company's 
Government  was  a  solemn  official  "reprimand" — 
suggest  the  suspicion  that  he  was  a  Eiu-opean  of 
consequence.  The  same  public  docimient  which 
contained  the  reprimand  gave  warning  that  future 
offenders  of  his  sort,  if  in  the  company's  service, 
would  be  dismissed ;  and  if  merchants,  suffer  revoca- 
tion of  license  and  exile  to  England. 

The  Towers  are  not  tall,  but  are  low  in  proportion 
to  their  circimiference,  like  a  gasometer.  If  you 
should  fill  a  gasometer  half-way  up  with  solid  granite 
masonry,  then  drive  a  wide  and  deep  well  down 
through  the  center  of  this  mass  of  masonry,  you 
would  have  the  idea  of  a  Tower  of  Silence.  On  the 
masonry  surrounding  the  well  the  bodies  lie,  in 
shallow  trenches  which  radiate  like  wheel-spokes 
from  the  well.  The  trenches  slant  toward  the  well 
and  carry  into  it  the  rainfall.  Undergroimd  drains, 
with  charcoal  filters  in  them,  carry  off  this  water 
from  the  bottom  of  the  well. 

When  a  skeleton  has  lain  in  the  Tower  exposed  to 
the  rain  and  the  flaming  sun  a  month  it  is  perfectly 

43 


MARK    TWAIN 

dry  and  clean.  Then  the  same  bearers  that  brought 
it  there  come  gloved  and  take  it  up  with  tongs  and 
throw  it  into  the  well.  There  it  turns  to  dust.  It  is 
never  seen  again,  never  touched  again,  in  the  world. 
Other  peoples  separate  their  dead,  and  preserve  and 
continue  social  distinctions  in  the  grave — the  skele- 
tons of  kings  and  statesmen  and  generals  in  temples 
and  pantheons  proper  to  skeletons  of  their  degree, 
and  the  skeletons  of  the  commonplace  and  the  poor 
in  places  suited  to  their  meaner  estate;  but  the 
Parsees  hold  that  all  men  rank  alike  in  death — all 
are  humble,  all  poor,  all  destitute.  In  sign  of  their 
poverty  they  are  sent  to  their  grave  naked,  in  sign 
of  their  equality  the  bones  of  the  rich,  the  poor,  the 
illustrious,  and  the  obscure  are  flimg  into  the  com- 
mon well  together.  At  a  Parsee  funeral  there  are 
no  vehicles;  all  concerned  must  walk,  both  rich  and 
poor,  howsoever  great  the  distance  to  be  traversed 
may  be.  In  the  wells  of  the  Five  Towers  of  Silence 
is  mingled  the  dust  of  all  the  Parsee  men  and  women 
and  children  who  have  died  in  Bombay  and  its 
vicinity  during  the  two  centuries  which  have  elapsed 
since  the  Mohammedan  conquerors  drove  the  Parsees 
out  of  Persia,  and  into  that  region  of  India.  The 
earliest  of  the  five  towers  was  built  by  the  Modi 
family  something  more  than  two  hundred  years  ago, 
and  it  is  now  reserved  to  the  heirs  of  that  house; 
none  but  the  dead  of  that  blood  are  carried 
thither. 

The  origin  of  at  least  one  of  the  details  of  a  Parsee 
fimeral  is  not  now  known — the  presence  of  the  dog. 
Before  a  corpse  is  borne  from  the  house  of  mourning 

44 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

it  must  be  uncovered  and  exposed  to  the  gaze  of  a 
dog;  a  dog  must  also  be  led  in  the  rear  of  the  funeral. 
Mr.  Nusserwanjee  Byramjee,  Secretary  to  the  Parsee 
Punchayet,  said  that  these  formaHties  had  once  had 
a  meaning  and  a  reason  for  their  institution,  but  that 
they  were  survivals  whose  origin  none  could  now 
account  for.  Custom  and  tradition  continue  them 
in  force,  antiquity  hallows  them.  It  is  thought  that 
in  ancient  times  in  Persia  the  dog  was  a  sacred 
animal  and  could  guide  souls  to  heaven;  also  that 
his  eye  had  the  power  of  purifying  objects  which  had 
been  contaminated  by  the  touch  of  the  dead;  and 
that  hence  his  presence  with  the  funeral  cortege 
provides  an  ever  -  applicable  remedy  in  case  of 
need. 

The  Parsees  claim  that  their  method  of  disposing 
of  the  dead  is  an  effective  protection  of  the  living; 
that  it  disseminates  no  corruption,  no  impurities  of 
any  sort,  no  disease-germs;  that  no  wrap,  no  gar- 
ment which  has  touched  the  dead  is  allowed  to  touch 
the  living  afterward ;  that  from  the  Towers  of  Silence 
nothing  proceeds  which  can  cany  harm  to  the  out- 
side world.  These  are  just  claims,  I  think.  As  a 
sanitary  measure,  their  system  seems  to  be  about 
the  equivalent  of  cremation,  and  as  sure.  We  are 
drifting  slowly — ^but  hopefully — toward  cremation 
in  these  days.  It  could  not  be  expected  that  this 
progress  should  be  swift,  but  if  it  be  steady  and 
continuous >  even  if  slow,  that  will  siiffice.  When 
cremation  becomes  the  rule  we  shall  cease  to  shudder 
at  it;  we  should  shudder  at  burial  if  we  allowed 
ourselves  to  think  what  goes  on  in  the  grave. 

45 


MARK     TWAIN 

The  dog  was  an  impressive  figure  to  me,  repre- 
senting as  he  did  a  mystery  whose  key  is  lost.  He 
was  humble,  and  apparently  depressed;  and  he  let 
his  head  droop  pensively,  and  looked  as  if  he  might 
be  trying  to  call  back  to  his  mind  what  it  was  that 
he  had  used  to  symbolize  ages  ago  when  he  began 
his  function.  There  was  another  impressive  thing 
close  at  hand,  but  I  was  not  privileged  to  see  it. 
That  was  the  sacred  fire  —  a  fire  which  is  sup- 
posed to  have  been  burning  without  interruption 
for  more  than  two  centuries;  and  so,  living  by 
the  same  heat  that  was  imparted  to  it  so  long 
ago. 

The  Parsees  are  a  remarkable  commimity.  There 
are  only  about  sixty  thousand  in  Bombay,  and  only 
about  half  as  many  as  that  in  the  rest  of  India; 
but  they  make  up  in  importance  what  they  lack  in 
numbers.  They  are  highly  educated,  energetic,  enter- 
prising, progressive,  rich,  and  the  Jew  himself  is 
not  more  lavish  or  catholic  in  his  charities  and 
benevolences.  The  Parsees  build  and  endow  hos- 
pitals, for  both  men  and  animals;  and  they  and 
their  womenkind  keep  an  open  purse  for  all  great 
and  good  objects.  They  are  a  political  force,  and  a 
valued  support  to  the  government.  They  have  a 
pure  and  lofty  religion,  and  they  preserve  it  in  its 
integrity  and  order  their  lives  by  it. 

We  took  a  final  sweep  of  the  wonderful  view  of 
plain  and  city  and  ocean,  and  so  ended  our  visit  to 
the  garden  and  the  Towers  of  Silence;  and  the  last 
thing  I  noticed  was  another  symbol — a  voluntary 
symbol  this  one;   it  was  a  vulture  standing  on  the 

46 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

sawed-off  top  of  a  tall  and  slender  and  branchless 
palm  in  an  open  space  in  the  ground;  he  was  per- 
fectly motionless,  and  looked  like  a  piece  of  sculp- 
ture on  a  pillar.  And  he  had  a  mortuary  look,  too, 
which  was  in  keeping  with  the  place. 


CHAPTER  V 

WE  MINGLE  WITH  HUMAN   FIREWORKS 

There  is  an  old-time  toast  which  is  golden  for  its  beauty.     "When  you  ascend 
the  hill  of  prosperity  may  you  not  meet  a  friend." 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

THE  next  picture  that  drifts  across  the  field  of 
my  memory  is  one  which  is  connected  with 
reUgious  things.  We  were  taken  by  friends  to  see 
a  Jain  temple.  It  was  small,  and  had  many  flags  or 
streamers  flying  from  poles  standing  above  its  roof; 
and  its  little  battlements  supported  a  great  many 
small  idols  or  images.  Up-stairs,  inside,  a  solitary 
Jain  was  praying  or  reciting  aloud  in  the  middle  of 
the  room.  Our  presence  did  not  interrupt  him,  nor 
even  incommode  him  or  modify  his  fervor.  Ten 
or  twelve  feet  in  front  of  him  was  the  idol,  a  small 
figure  in  a  sitting  posture.  It  had  the  pinkish  look 
of  a  wax  doll,  but  lacked  the  doll's  roundness  of 
limb  and  approximation  to  correctness  of  form  and 
justness  of  proportion.  Mr.  Gandhi  explained  every- 
thing to  us.  He  was  delegate  to  the  Chicago  Fair 
Congress  of  Religions.  It  was  lucidly  done,  in  mas- 
terly English,  but  in  time  it  faded  from  me,  and 
now  I  have  nothing  left  of  that  episode  but  an 
impression:  a  dim  idea  of  a  religious  belief  clothed 
in  subtle  intellectual  forms,  lofty  and  clean,  barren 
of  fleshly  grossnesses ;  and  with  this  another  dim 
impression  which  connects  that  intellectual  system 

48 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

somehow  with  that  crude  image,  that  inadequate 
idol — how,  I  do  not  know.  Properly,  they  do  not 
seem  to  belong  together.  Apparently,  the  idol  sym- 
bolized a  person  who  had  become  a  saint  or  a  god 
through  accessions  of  steadily  augmenting  holiness 
acquired  through  a  series  of  reincarnations  and  pro- 
motions extending  over  many  ages;  and  was  now 
at  last  a  saint  and  qualified  to  vicariously  receive 
worship  and  transmit  it  to  heaven's  chancellery. 
Was  that  it? 

And  thence  we  went  to  Mr.  Premchand  Roy- 
chand's  bimgalow,  in  Lovelane,  Byculla,  where  an 
Indian  prince  was  to  receive  a  deputation  of  the  Jain 
community  who  desired  to  congratulate  him  upon  a 
high  honor  lately  conferred  upon  him  by  his  sover- 
eign, Victoria,  Empress  of  India.  She  had  made 
him  a  knight  of  the  order  of  the  Star  of  India.  It 
would  seem  that  even  the  grandest  Indian  prince  is 
glad  to  add  the  modest  title  "Sir"  to  his  ancient 
native  grandeurs,  and  is  willing  to  do  valuable  service 
to  win  it.  He  will  remit  taxes  liberally,  and  will 
spend  money  freely  upon  the  betterment  of  the  con- 
dition of  his  subjects,  if  there  is  a  knighthood  to  be 
gotten  by  it.  And  he  will  also  do  good  work  and  a 
deal  of  it  to  get  a  gun  added  to  the  salute  allowed 
him  by  the  British  Government.  Every  year  the 
Empress  distributes  knighthoods  and  adds  guns  for 
public  services  done  by  native  princes.  The  salute 
of  a  small  prince  is  three  or  four  guns;  princes  of 
greater  consequence  have  salutes  that  nm  higher  and 
higher,  gun  by  gun — oh,  clear  away  up  to  eleven; 
possibly  more,   but   I   did  not  hear  of  any  above 

49 


MARK     TWAIN 

eleven-gun  princes.  I  was  told  that  when  a  four- 
gun  prince  gets  a  gun  added,  he  is  pretty  trouble- 
some for  a  while,  till  the  novelty  wears  off,  for  he 
likes  the  music,  and  keeps  hunting  up  pretexts  to 
get  himself  saluted.  It  may  be  that  supremely 
grand  folk,  like  the  Nizam  of  Hyderabad  and  the 
Gaikwar  of  Baroda,  have  more  than  eleven  guns, 
but  I  don't  know. 

When  we  arrived  at  the  btmgalow,  the  large  hall 
on  the  groimd  floor  was  already  about  fiill,  and 
carriages  were  still  flowing  into  the  grotmds.  The 
company  present  made  a  fine  show,  an  exhibition  of 
human  fireworks,  so  to  speak,  in  the  matters  of  cos- 
tume and  comminglings  of  brilliant  color.  The 
variety  of  form  noticeable  in  the  display  of  tiu-bans 
was  remarkable.  We  were  told  that  the  explanation 
of  this  was,  that  this  Jain  delegation  was  drawn 
from  many  parts  of  India,  and  that  each  man 
wore  the  tiu-ban  that  was  in  vogue  in  his  own 
region.  This  diversity  of  turbans  made  a  beautiful 
effect. 

I  could  have  wished  to  start  a  rival  exhibition 
there,  of  Christian  hats  and  clothes.  I  would  have 
cleared  one  side  of  the  room  of  its  Indian  splendors 
and  repacked  the  space  with  Christians  drawn  from 
America,  England,  and  the  Colonies,  dressed  in  the 
hats  and  habits  of  now,  and  of  twenty  and  forty  and 
fifty  years  ago.  It  would  have  been  a  hideous 
exhibition,  a  thoroughly  devilish  spectacle.  Then 
there  would  have  been  the  added  disadvantage  of 
the  white  complexion.  It  is  not  an  imbearably  im- 
pleasant  complexion  when  it  keeps  to  itself,  but  when 

50 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

it  comes  into  competition  with  masses  of  brown 
and  black  the  fact  is  betrayed  that  it  is  endurable 
only  because  we  are  used  to  it.  Nearly  all  black 
and  brown  skins  are  beautiful,  but  a  beautiftd  white 
skin  is  rare.  How  rare,  one  may  learn  by  walking 
down  a  street  in  Paris,  New  York,  or  London  on  a 
week-day — particularly  an  unfashionable  street — and 
keeping  count  of  the  satisfactory  complexions  en- 
countered in  the  course  of  a  mile.  Where  dark  com- 
plexions are  massed,  they  make  the  whites  look 
bleached  out,  unwholesome,  and  sometimes  frankly 
ghastly.  I  could  notice  this  as  a  boy,  down  South 
in  the  slavery  days  before  the  war.  The  splendid 
black-satin  skin  of  the  South  African  Zulus  of  Dtu*ban 
seemed  to  me  to  come  very  close  to  perfection.  I 
can  see  those  Zulus  yet — 'rikisha  athletes  waiting 
in  front  of  the  hot^l  for  custom;  handsome  and  in- 
tensely black  creatures,  moderately  clothed  in  loose 
summer  stuffs  whose  snowy  whiteness  made  the  black 
all  the  blacker  by  contrast.  Keeping  that  group  in 
my  mind,  I  can  compare  those  complexions  with  the 
white  ones  which  are  streaming  past  this  London 
window  now : 

A  lady.     Complexion,  new  parchment. 

Another  lady.    Complexion,  old  parchment. 

Another.    Pink  and  white,  very  fine. 

Man.     Grayish  skin,  with  purple  areas. 

Man.     Unwholesome  fish-belly  skin. 

Girl.     Sallow  face,  sprinkled  w^th  freckles. 

Old  woman.     Face  whitey-gray. 

Young  butcher.     Face  a  general  red  flush. 

Jaundiced  man.     Mustard  yellow. 

51 


MARK     TWAIN 

Elderly  lady.  Colorless  skin,  with  two  conspicu- 
ous moles. 

Elderly  man — a  drinker.  Boiled-cauliflower  nose 
in  a  flabby  face  veined  with  purple  crinklings. 

Healthy  young  gentleman.    Fine  fresh  complexion. 

Sick  young  man.     His  face  a  ghastly  white. 

No  end  of  people  whose  skins  are  dull  and  char- 
acterless modifications  of  the  tint  which  we  miscall 
white.  Some  of  these  faces  are  pimply;  some  ex- 
hibit other  signs  of  diseased  blood;  some  show  scars 
of  a  tint  out  of  harmony  with  the  surrounding  shades 
of  color.  The  white  man's  complexion  makes  no 
concealments.  It  can't.  It  seems  to  have  been 
designed  as  a  catch-all  for  everything  that  can  dam- 
age it.  Ladies  have  to  paint  it,  and  powder  it, 
and  cosmetic  it,  and  diet  it  with  arsenic,  and  enamel 
it,  and  be  always  enticing  it,  and  persuading  it, 
and  pestering  it,  and  fussing  at  it,  to  make  it  beau- 
tiful; and  they  do  not  succeed.  But  these  efforts 
show  what  they  think  of  the  natural  complexion,  as 
distributed.  As  distributed  it  needs  these  helps. 
The  complexion  which  they  try  to  counterfeit  is 
one  which  nature  restricts  to  the  few — to  the  very 
few.  To  ninety-nine  persons  she  gives  a  bad  com- 
plexion, to  the  hundredth  a  good  one.  The  hun- 
dredth can  keep  it — ^how  long?    Ten  years,  perhaps. 

The  advantage  is  with  the  Zulu,  I  think.  He 
starts  with  a  beautiful  complexion,  and  it  wdll  last 
him  through.  And  as  for  the  Indian  brown — firm, 
smooth,  blemishless,  pleasant  and  restful  to  the  eye, 
afraid  of  no  color,  harmonizing  with  all  colors  and 
adding  a  grace  to  them  all — I  think  there  is  no  sort 

52 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

of  chance  for  the  average  white  complexion  against 
that  rich  and  perfect  tint. 

To  return  to  the  bungalow.  The  most  gorgeous 
costumes  present  were  worn  by  some  children.  They 
seemed  to  blaze,  so  bright  were  the  colors,  and  so 
brilliant  the  jewels  strung  over  the  rich  materials. 
These  children  were  professional  nautch-dancers,  and 
looked  like  girls,  but  they  were  boys.  They  got 
up  by  ones  and  twos  and  fours,  and  danced  and  sang 
to  an  accompaniment  of  weird  music.  Their  pos- 
tiuings  and  gestiuings  were  elaborate  and  graceful, 
but  their  voices  were  stringently  raspy  and  un- 
pleasant, and  there  was  a  good  deal  of  monotony 
about  the  time. 

By  and  by,  there  was  a  burst  of  shouts  and  cheers 
outside  and  the  prince  with  his  train  entered  in  fine 
dramatic  style.  He  was  a  stately  man,  he  was 
ideally  costumed,  and  fairly  festooned  with  ropes  of 
gems;  some  of  the  ropes  were  of  pearls,  some  were 
of  uncut  great  emeralds — emeralds  renowned  in 
Bombay  for  their  quality  and  value.  Their  size  was 
marvelous,  and  enticing  to  the  eye,  those  rocks. 
A  boy — a  princeling — was  with  the  prince,  and  he 
also  was  a  radiant  exhibition. 

The  ceremonies  were  not  tedious.  The  prince 
strode  to  his  throne  with  the  port  and  majesty — and 
the  sternness — of  a  Julius  Caesar  coming  to  receive 
and  receipt  for  a  back-country  kingdom  and  have 
it  over  and  get  out,  and  no  fooling.  There  was  a 
throne  for  the  yoimg  prince,  too,  and  the  two  sat 
there,  side  by  side,  with  their  officers  grouped  at 
either   hand   and   most   accurately   and   creditably 

53 


MARK     TWAIN 

reproducing  the  pictures  which  one  sees  in  the 
books — pictures  which  people  in  the  prince's  line 
of  business  have  been  furnishing  ever  since  Solomon 
received  the  Queen  of  Sheba  and  showed  her  his 
things.  The  chief  of  the  Jain  delegation  read  his 
paper  of  congratulations,  then  pushed  it  into  a  beau- 
tifully engraved  silver  cylinder,  which  was  delivered 
with  ceremony  into  the  prince's  hands  and  at  once 
delivered  by  him  without  ceremony  into  the  hands 
of  an  officer.  I  will  copy  the  address  here.  It  is 
interesting,  as  showing  what  an  Indian  prince's  sub- 
ject may  have  opportunity  to  thank  him  for  in  these 
days  of  modem  English  rule,  as  contrasted  with 
what  his  ancestor  would  have  given  them  oppor- 
tunity to  thank  him  for  a  century  and  a  half  ago — 
the  days  of  freedom  imhampered  by  English  inter- 
ference. A  century  and  a  half  ago  an  address  of 
thanks  could  have  been  put  into  small  space.  It 
would  have  thanked  the  prince : 

1.  For  not  slaughtering  too  many  of  his  people  upon  mere 
caprice; 

2.  For  not  stripping  them  bare  by  sudden  and  arbitrary  tax 
le\aes,  and  bringing  famine  upon  them ; 

3.  For  not  upon  empty  pretext  destroying  the  rich  and  seizing 
their  property; 

4.  For  not  killing,  blinding,  imprisoning,  or  banishing  the 
relatives  of  the  royal  house  to  protect  the  throne  from  possible 
plots; 

5.  For  not  betrajring  the  subject  secretly,  for  a  bribe,  into  the 
hands  of  bands  of  professional  Thugs,  to  be  murdered  and  robbed 
in  the  prince's  back  lot. 

Those  were  rather  common  princely  industries  in 
the  old  times,  but  they  and  some  others  of  a  harsh 

54 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

sort  ceased  long  ago  under  English  rule.  Better 
industries  have  taken  their  place,  as  this  Address 
from  the  Jain  community  will  show: 

Your  Highness, — We  the  undersigned  members  of  the  Jain 
community  of  Bombay  have  the  pleasure  to  approach  yoiu-  High- 
ness with  the  expression  of  our  heartfelt  congratulations  on  the 
recent  conference  on  your  Highness  of  the  Knighthood  of  the 
Most  Exalted  Order  of  the  Star  of  India.  Ten  years  ago  we 
had  the  pleasure  and  privilege  of  welcoming  your  Highness  to  this 
city  under  circumstances  which  have  made  a  memorable  epoch 
in  the  history  of  your  State,  for  had  it  not  been  for  a  generous 
and  reasonable  spirit  that  your  Highness  displayed  in  the 
negotiations  between  the  PaUtana  Ehirbar  and  the  Jain  com- 
mtmity,  the  conciliatory  spirit  that  animated  our  people  could 
not  have  borne  fruit.  That  was  the  first  step  in  your  Highness's 
administration,  and  it  fitly  elicited  the  praise  of  the  Jain  com- 
mimity,  and  of  the  Bombay  Government.  A  decade  of  your 
Highness's  administration,  combined  wnth  the  abilities,  training, 
and  acquirements  that  your  Highness  brought  to  bear  upon  it, 
has  justly  earned  for  your  Highness  the  imique  and  honorable 
distinction — the  Knighthood  of  the  Most  Exalted  Order  of  the 
Star  of  India,  which  we  understand  your  Highness  is  the  first 
to  enjoy  among  Chiefs  of  your  Highness's  rank  and  standing. 
And  we  assiu-e  your  Highness  that  for  this  mark  of  honor  that 
has  been  conferred  on  you  by  her  Most  Gracious  Majesty, 
the  Queen-Empress,  we  feel  no  less  proud  than  your  Highness. 
Establishment  of  commercial  factories,  schools,  hospitals,  etc., 
by  your  Highness  m  your  State  has  marked  your  Highness's 
career  during  these  ten  years,  and  we  trust  that  your  Highness 
will  be  spared  to  rule  over  your  people  with  wisdom  and  fore- 
sight, and  foster  the  many  reforms  that  your  Highness  has  been 
pleased  to  introduce  in  your  State.  We  again  offer  your  High- 
ness our  warmest  felicitations  for  the  honor  that  has  been  con- 
ferred on  you.  We  beg  to  remain  your  Highness's  obedient 
servants. 

Factories,  schools,  hospitals,  reforms.  The  prince 
propagates  that  kind  of  things  in  the  modem  times, 
and  gets  knighthood  and  guns  for  it. 

55 


MARK     TWAIN 

After  the  address  the  prince  responded  with  snap 
and  breyity;  spoke  a  moment  with  half  a  dozen 
guests  in  English,  and  with  an  official  or  two  in  a 
native  tongue ;  then  the  garlands  were  distributed  as 
usual,  and  the  function  ended. 


CHAPTER  VI 

THE  HOME  OF  THE  BLACK  DEATH 

Each  person  is  born  to  one  possession  which  outvalues  all  his  others — his  last 
breath. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

TOWARD  midnight,  that  night,  there  was  another 
function.  This  was  a  Hindu  wedding  —  no,  I 
think  it  was  a  betrothal  ceremony.  Always  before, 
we  had  driven  through  streets  that  were  multitudi- 
nous and  tumultuous  with  picturesque  native  life, 
but  now  there  was  nothing  of  that.  We  seemed 
to  move  through  a  city  of  the  dead.  There  was 
hardly  a  suggestion  of  life  in  those  still  and  vacant 
streets.  Even  the  crows  were  silent.  But  every- 
where on  the  grotmd  lay  sleeping  natives — himdreds 
and  hundreds.  They  lay  stretched  at  full  length  and 
tightly  wrapped  in  blankets,  heads  and  all.  Their 
attitude  and  their  rigidity  counterfeited  death.  The 
plague  was  not  in  Bombay  then,  but  it  is  devastating 
the  city  now.  The  shops  are  deserted,  now,  half  of 
the  people  have  fled,  and  of  the  remainder  the  smitten 
perish  by  shoals  every  day.  No  doubt  the  city  looks 
now  in  the  daytime  as  it  looked  then  at  night. 
When  we  had  pierced  deep  into  the  native  quarter 
and  were  threading  its  narrow  dim  lanes,  we  had 
to  go  carefully,  for  men  were  stretched  asleep  all 
about,  and  there  was  hardly  room  to  drive  between 
them.     And  every  now  and  then  a  swarm  of  rats 

57 


MAJIK    TWAIN 

would  scamper  across  past  the  horses'  feet  in  the 
vague  Hght — the  forebears  of  the  rats  that  are  carry- 
ing the  plague  from  house  to  house  in  Bombay  now. 
The  shops  were  but  sheds,  little  booths  open  to  the 
street ;  and  the  goods  had  been  removed,  and  on  the 
counters  famiHes  were  sleeping,  usually  with  an  oil- 
lamp  present.    Recurrent  dead-watches,  it  looked  like. 

But  at  last  we  turned  a  comer  and  saw  a  great 
glare  of  light  ahead.  It  was  the  home  of  the  bride, 
wrapped  in  a  perfect  conflagration  of  illuminations — 
mainly  gas- work  designs,  gotten  up  specially  for 
the  occasion.  Within  was  abundance  of  brilliancy — 
flames,  costumes,  colors,  decorations,  mirrors — ^it  was 
another  Aladdin  show. 

The  bride  was  a  trim  and  comely  little  thing  of 
twelve  years,  dressed  as  we  would  dress  a  boy, 
though  more  expensively  than  we  should  do  it,  of 
course.  She  moved  about  very  much  at  her  ease, 
and  stopped  and  talked  with  the  guests  and  allowed 
her  wedding  jewelry  to  be  examined.  It  was  very 
fine.  Particularly  a  rope  of  great  diamonds,  a  lovely 
thing  to  look  at  and  handle.  It  had  a  great  emerald 
hanging  to  it. 

The  bridegroom  was  not  present.  He  was  having 
betrothal  festivities  of  his  own  at  his  father's  house. 
As  I  imderstood  it,  he  and  the  bride  were  to  enter- 
tain company  every  night  and  nearly  all  night  for  a 
week  or  more,  then  get  married,  if  alive.  Both  of 
the  children  were  a  little  elderly,  as  brides  and  grooms 
go,  in  India — twelve ;  they  ought  to  have  been  mar- 
ried a  year  or  two  sooner;  still  to  a  stranger  twelve 
seems  quite  young  enough. 

58 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

A  while  after  midnight  a  couple  of  celebrated  and 
high-priced  nautch-girls  appeared  in  the  gorgeous 
place,  and  danced  and  sang.  With  them  were  men 
who  played  upon  strange  instruments  which  made 
uncanny  noises  of  a  sort  to  make  one*s  flesh  creep. 
One  of  these  instruments  was  a  pipe,  and  to  its 
music  the  girls  went  through  a  performance  which 
represented  snake-charming.  It  seemed  a  doubtful 
sort  of  music  to  charm  anything  with,  but  a  native 
gentleman  assured  me  that  snakes  like  it  and  will 
come  out  of  their  holes  and  listen  to  it  with  every 
evidence  of  refreshment  and  gratitude.  He  said 
that  at  an  entertainment  in  his  groimds  once,  the 
pipe  brought  out  half  a  dozen  snakes,  and  the  music 
had  to  be  stopped  before  they  would  be  persuaded 
to  go.  Nobody  wanted  their  company,  for  they 
were  bold,  familiar,  and  dangerous;  but  no  one 
would  kill  them,  of  course,  for  it  is  sinful  for  a  Hindu 
to  kill  any  kind  of  a  creature. 

We  withdrew  from  the  festivities  at  two  in  the 
morning.  Another  picture,  then — but  it  has  lodged 
itself  in  my  memory  rather  as  a  stage-scene  than  as 
a  reality.  It  is  of  a  porch  and  short  flight  of  steps 
crowded  with  dark  faces  and  ghostly  white  draperies 
flooded  with  the  strong  glare  from  the  dazzling  con- 
centration of  illuminations ;  and  midway  of  the  steps 
one  conspicuous  figure  for  accent — a  turbaned  giant, 
with  a  name  according  to  his  size:  Rao  Bahadur 
Baskirao  Balinkanje  Pitale,  Vakeel  to  his  Highness 
the  Gaikwar  of  Baroda.  Without  him  the  picture 
would  not  have  been  complete ;  and  if  his  name  had 
been   merely   Smith,   he  wouldn't   have  answered. 

59 


MARK     TWAIN 

Close  at  hand  on  house-fronts  on  both  sides  of  the 
narrow  street  were  illuminations  of  a  kind  commonly 
employed  by  the  natives — scores  of  glass  tumblers 
(containing  tapers)  fastened  a  few  inches  apart  all 
over  great  latticed  frames,  forming  starry  constella- 
tions which  showed  out  vividly  against  their  black 
backgrounds.  As  we  drew  away  into  the  distance 
down  the  dim  lanes  the  illuminations  gathered  to- 
gether into  a  single  mass,  and  glowed  out  of  the 
enveloping  darkness  like  a  sun. 

Then  again  the  deep  silence,  the  scurrying  rats, 
the  dim  forms  stretched  everywhere  on  the  ground; 
and  on  either  hand  those  open  booths  counterfeiting 
sepulchers,  with  counterfeit  corpses  sleeping  motion- 
less in  the  flicker  of  the  counterfeit  death-lamps. 
And  now,  a  year  later,  when  I  read  the  cablegrams 
I  seem  to  be  reading  of  what  I  myself  partly  saw — 
saw  before  it  happened — in  a  prophetic  dream,  as 
it  were.  One  cablegram  says,  '  *  Business  in  the  native 
town  is  about  suspended.  Except  the  wailing  and 
the  tramp  of  the  fimerals.  There  is  but  little  life 
or  movement.  The  closed  shops  exceed  in  number 
those  that  remain  open.**  Another  says  that 
325,000  of  the  people  have  fled  the  city  and  are 
carrying  the  plague  to  the  country.  Three  days 
later  comes  the  news,  "The  population  is  reduced 
by  halfy  The  refugees  have  carried  the  disease  to 
Karachi;  "220  cases,  214  deaths."  A  day  or  two 
later,  ''52  fresh  cases,  all  of  which  proved  fatal." 

The  plague  carries  with  it  a  terror  which  no  other 
disease  can  excite;  for  of  all  diseases  known  to  men 
it  is  the  deadliest — ^by  far  the  deadliest.    "Fifty-two 

60 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

Tesh  cases — all  fatal."  It  is  the  Black  Death  alone 
;hat  slays  like  that.  We  can  all  imagine,  after  a 
ashion,  the  desolation  of  a  plague-stricken  city,  and 
;he  stupor  of  stillness  broken  at  intervals  by  distant 
bursts  of  wailing,  marking  the  passing  of  funerals, 
lere  and  there  and  yonder;  but  I  suppose  it  is 
lot  possible  for  us  to  realize  to  ourselves  the  night- 
nare  of  dread  and  fear  that  possesses  the  Hving 
vho  are  present  in  such  a  place  and  cannot  get 
iway.  That  half  million  fled  from  Bombay  in  a 
vild  panic  suggests  to  us  something  of  what  they 
vere  feeling,  but  perhaps  not  even  they  could  reaHze 
vhat  the  half  million  were  feeling  whom  they  left 
itranded  behind  to  face  the  stalking  horror  without 
ihance  of  escape.  Kinglake  was  in  Cairo  many 
^ears  ago  during  an  epidemic  of  the  Black  Death, 
md  he  has  imagined  the  terrors  that  creep  into  a 
nan's  heart  at  such  a  time  and  follow  him  until  they 
hemselves  breed  the  fatal  sign  in  the  armpit,  and 
hen  the  delirium  with  confused  images,  and  home- 
Ireams,  and  reeling  billiard- tables,  and  then  the 
;udden  blank  of  death : 

To  the  contagionist,  filled  as  he  is  with  the  dread  of  final  causes, 
laving  no  faith  in  destiny,  nor  in  the  fixed  will  of  God,  and  with 
tone  of  the  devil-may-care  indifference  which  might  stand  him 
nstead  of  creeds — to  such  one,  every  rag  that  shivers  in  the 
)reeze  of  a  plague-stricken  city  has  this  sort  of  sublimity.  If 
)y  any  terrible  ordinance  he  be  forced  to  venture  forth,  he  sees 
leath  dangling  from  every  sleeve;  and,  as  he  creeps  forward^ 
le  poises  his  shuddering  limbs  between  the  imminent  jacket 
hat  is  stabbing  at  his  right  elbow  and  the  murderous  pelisse  that 
hreatens  to  mow  him  clean  down  as  it  sweeps  along  on  his 
iit.  But  most  of  all  he  dreads  that  which  most  of  all  he  should 
3ve — the  touch  of  a  woman's  dress;    for  mothers  and  wives, 

6i 


MARK     TWAIN 

hurrying  forth  on  kindly  errands  from  the  bedsides  of  the  dying, 
go  slouching  along  through  the  streets  more  wilfully  and  less 
courteously  than  the  men.  For  a  while  it  may  be  that  the  cau- 
tion of  the  poor  Levantine  may  enable  him  to  avoid  contact, 
but  sooner  or  later,  perhaps,  the  dreaded  chance  arrives;  that 
bundle  of  linen,  with  the  dark  tearful  eyes  at  the  top  of  it, 
that  labors  along  with  the  voluptuous  clumsiness  of  Grisi — she 
has  touched  the  poor  Levantine  with  the  hem  of  her  sleeve! 
From  that  dread  moment  his  peace  is  gone;  his  mind  forever 
hanging  upon  the  fatal  touch  invites  the  blow  which  he  fears; 
he  watches  for  the  symptoms  of  plague  so  carefully,  that  sooner 
or  later  they  come  in  truth.  The  parched  mouth  is  a  sign — his 
mouth  is  parched;  the  throbbing  brain — his  brain  does  throb; 
the  rapid  pulse — he  touches  his  own  wrist  (for  he  dares  not  ask 
counsel  of  any  man,  lest  he  be  deserted),  he  touches  his  wrist, 
and  feels  how  his  frighted  blood  goes  galloping  out  of  his  heart. 
There  is  nothing  but  the  fatal  swelling  that  is  wanting  to  make 
his  sad  conviction  complete;  immediately,  he  has  an  odd  feel 
under  the  arm — no  pain,  but  a  little  straining  of  the  skin;  he 
would  to  God  it  were  his  fancy  that  were  strong  enough  to  give 
him  that  sensation;  this  is  the  worst  of  all.  It  now  seems  to 
him  that  he  could  be  happy  and  contented  with  his  parched 
mouth,  and  his  throbbing  brain,  and  his  rapid  pulse,  if  only 
he  could  know  that  there  were  no  swelling  under  the  left  arm; 
but  dares  he  try? — in  a  moment  of  calmness  and  deliberation 
he  dares  not;  but  when  for  a  while  he  has  writhed  tmder  the 
torture  of  suspense,  a  sudden  strength  of  will  drives  him  to  seek 
and  know  his  fate;  he  touches  the  gland,  and  finds  the  skin  sane 
and  sound,  but  under  the  cuticle  there  Hes  a  small  lump  like  a 
pistol-buUet,  that  moves  as  he  pushes  it.  Oh!  but  is  this  for 
all  certainty,  is  this  the  sentence  of  death?  Feel  the  gland  of 
the  other  arm.  There  is  not  the  same  lump  exactly,  yet  some- 
thing a  little  like  it.  Have  not  some  people  glands  naturally 
enlarged? — ^would  to  heaven  he  were  one!  So  he  does  for 
himself  the  work  of  the  plague,  and  when  the  Angel  of  Death 
thus  courted  does  in  deed  and  in  truth  come,  he  has  only  to 
finish  that  which  has  been  so  well  begun;  he  passes  his  fiery 
hand  over  the  brain  of  the  victim,  and  lets  him  rave  for  a  season, 
but  all  chance-wise,  of  people  and  things  once  dear,  or  of  people 
and  things  indifferent.  Once  more  the  poor  fellow  is  back  at 
his  home  in  fair  Provence,  and  sees  the  sun-dial   that  stood 

62 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

in  his  childhood's  garden — sees  his  mother,  and  the  long-since- 
forgotten  face  of  that  Httle  dear  sister — (he  sees  her,  he  says,  on  a 
Sunday  morning,  for  all  the  church-bells  are  ringing) ;  he  looks 
up  and  down  through  the  universe,  and  owns  it  well  piled  with 
bales  upon  bales  of  cotton,  and  cotton  eternal — so  much  so — 
that  he  feels — he  knows — he  swears  he  could  make  that  winning 
hazard,  if  the  billiard  -  table  would  not  slant  upward,  and  if 
the  cue  were  a  cue  worth  playing  with;  but  it  is  not — ^it's  a  cue 
that  won't  move — his  own  arm  won't  move — in  short,  there's 
the  devil  to  pay  in  the  brain  of  the  poor  Levantine;  and  perhaps, 
the  next  night  but  one  he  becomes  tfte  "life  and  the  soul "  of  some 
squaUing  jackal  family,  who  fish  him  out  by  the  foot  from  his 
shallow  and  sandy  grave. 


CHAPTER  VII 

JUGGERNAUT,   SUTTEE   AND   THUGGEE 

Hunger  is  the  handmaid  of  genius, — Pudd'nliead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

ONE  day  during  our  stay  in  Bombay  there  was  a 
criminal  trial  of  a  most  interesting  sort,  a 
terribly  realistic  chapter  out  of  the  Arabian  Nights, 
a  strange  mixture  of  simplicities  and  pieties  and 
murderous  practicaHties,  which  brought  back  the 
forgotten  days  of  Thuggee  and  made  them  live 
again;  in  fact,  even  made  them  believable.  It  was 
a  case  where  a  yoimg  girl  had  been  assassinated 
for  the  sake  of  her  trifling  ornaments,  things  not 
worth  a  laborer's  day's  wages  in  America.  This 
thing  could  have  been  done  in  many  other  countries, 
but  hardly  with  the  cold  business-like  depravity, 
absence  of  fear,  absence  of  caution,  destitution  of 
the  sense  of  horror,  repentance,  remorse,  exhibited 
in  this  case.  Elsewhere  the  murderer  would  have 
done  his  crime  secretly,  by  night,  and  without  wit- 
nesses; his  fears  would  have  allowed  him  no  peace 
while  the  dead  body  was  in  his  neighborhood;  he 
would  not  have  rested  imtil  he  had  gotten  it  safe 
out  of  the  way  and  hidden  as  effectually  as  he  could 
hide  it.  But  this  Indian  murderer  does  his  deed  in 
the  fiill  light  of  day,  cares  nothing  for  the  society  of 
witnesses,  is  in  no  way  incommoded  by  the  presence 
of  the  corpse,  takes  his  own  time  about  disposing 

64 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

of  it,  and  the  whole  party  are  so  indifferent,  so 
phlegmatic,  that  they  take  their  regular  sleep  as  if 
nothing  was  happening  and  no  halters  hanging  over 
them;  and  these  five  bland  people  close  the  episode 
with  a  religious  service.  The  thing  reads  like  a 
Meadows-Tajdor  Thug-tale  of  half  a  century  ago,  as 
may  be  seen  by  the  official  report  of  the  trial: 

At  the  Mazagon  Police  Court  yesterday,  Superintendent  Nolan 
again  charged  Tookaram  Suntoo  Savat  Baya,  woman,  her 
daughter  Krishni,  and  Gopal  Vithoo  Bhanayker,  before  Mr. 
Phiroze  Hoshang  Dastur,  Fourth  Presidency  Magistrate,  under 
sections  302  and  109  of  the  Code,  with  having  on  the  night  of 
the  30th  of  December  last  murdered  a  Hindu  girl  named  Cassi, 
aged  twelve,  by  strangulation,  in  the  room  of  a  chawl  at  Jakaria 
Bunder,  on  the  Sewri  road,  and  also  with  aiding  and  abetting 
each  other  in  the  commission  of  the  offense. 

Mr.  F.  A.  Little,  Public  Prosecutor,  conducted  the  case  on 
behalf  of  the  Crown,  the  accused  being  undefended. 

Mr.  Little  appHed  under  the  provisions  of  the  Criminal 
Procedure  Code  to  tender  pardon  to  one  of  the  accused,  Krishni, 
woman,  aged  twenty-two,  on  her  undertaking  to  make  a  true 
and  full  statement  of  facts  under  which  the  deceased  girl  Cassi 
was  murdered. 

The  Magistrate  having  granted  the  Public  Prosecutor's  appli- 
cation, the  accused  Krishni  went  into  the  witness-box,  and,  on 
being  examined  by  Mr.  Little,  made  the  following  confession: — 
"  I  am  a  mill-hand  employed  at  the  Jubilee  Mill.  I  recollect  the 
day  (Tuesday)  on  which  the  body  of  the  deceased  Cassi  was 
found.  Previous  to  that  I  attended  the  mill  for  half  a  day,  and 
then  returned  home  at  three  in  the  afternoon,  when  I  saw  five 
persons  in  the  house,  viz.:  the  first  accused  Tookaram,  who  is 
my  paramour,  my  mother,  the  second  accused,  Baya,  the  accused 
Gopal,  and  two  guests  named  Ramji  Daji  and  Annaji  Gungaram. 
Tookaram  rented  the  room  of  the  chawl  situated  at  Jakaria 
Bunder  road  from  its  owner,  Girdharilal  Radhakishan,  and  in 
that  room  I,  my  paramour,  Tookaram,  and  his  younger  brother, 
Yesso  Mahadhoo,  live.  Since  his  arrival  in  Bombay  from  his 
native  country  Yesso  came  and  lived  with  us.     When  I  returned 

6S 


MARK     TWAIN 

from  the  mill  on  the  afternoon  of  that  day,  I  saw  the  two  guests 
seated  on  a  cot  in  the  veranda,  and  a  few  minutes  after  the 
accused  Gopal  came  and  took  his  seat  by  their  side,  while  I 
and  my  mother  were  seated  inside  the  room.  Tookaram,  who  had 
gone  out  to  fetch  some  pan  and  betelnuts,  on  his  return  home 
had  brought  the  two  guests  with  him.  After  returning  home 
he  gave  them  pan  supari.  While  they  were  eating  it  my  mother 
came  out  of  the  room  and  inquired  of  one  of  the  guests,  Ramji, 
what  had  happened  to  his  foot,  when  he  replied  that  he  had 
tried  many  remedies,  but  they  had  done  him  no  good.  My 
mother  then  took  some  rice  in  her  hand  and  prophesied  that 
the  disease  which  Ramji  was  suffering  from  would  not  be  cured 
until  he  returned  to  his  native  country.  In  the  mean  time  the 
deceased  Cassi  came  from  the  direction  of  an  outhouse,  and 
stood  in  front  on  the  threshold  of  our  room  with  a  lota  in  her 
hand.  Tookaram  then  told  his  two  guests  to  leave  the  room, 
and  they  then  went  up  the  steps  toward  the  quarry.  After  the 
guests  had  gone  away,  Tookaram  seized  the  deceased,  who  had 
come  ir.to  the  room,  and  he  afterward  put  a  waistband  around 
her,  and  tied  her  to  a  post  which  supports  a  loft.  After  doing 
this,  he  pressed  the  girl's  throat,  and,  having  tied  her  mouth 
with  the  dhotur  (now  shown  in  court),  fastened  it  to  the  post. 
Having  killed  the  girl,  Tookaram  removed  her  gold  head  orna- 
ment and  a  gold  putlee,  and  also  took  charge  of  her  lota.  Besides 
these  two  ornaments  Cassi  had  on  her  person  ear-studs,  a  nose- 
ring, some  silver  toe-rings,  two  necklaces,  a  pair  of  silver  anklets 
and  bracelets.  Tookaram  afterward  tried  to  remove  the  silver 
amulets,  the  ear-studs,  and  the  nose-ring;  but  he  failed  in  his 
attempt.  Wliile  he  was  doing  so,  I,  my  mother,  and  Gopal 
were  present.  After  removing  the  two  gold  ornaments,  he 
handed  them  over  to  Gopal,  who  was  at  the  time  standing  near 
me.  Whea  he  killed  Cassi,  Tookaram  threatened  to  strangle 
me  also  if  I  informed  any  one  of  this.  Gopal  and  myself  were 
then  standing  at  the  door  of  our  room,  and  we  both  were  threat- 
ened by  Tookaram.  My  mother,  Baya,  had  seized  the  legs 
of  the  deceased  at  the  time  she  was  killed,  and  while  she  was 
being  tied  to  the  post.  Cassi  then  made  a  noise.  Tookaram 
and  my  mother  took  part  in  killing  the  girl.  After  the  murder 
her  body  was  wrapped  up  in  a  mattress  and  kept  on  the  loft 
over  the  door  of  our  room.  When  Cassi  was  strangled,  the  door 
of  the  room  was  fastened  from  the  inside  by  Tookaram.     This 

66 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

deed  was  committed  shortly  after  my  return  home  from  work 
in  the  mill.  Tookaram  put  the  body  of  the  deceased  in  the 
mattress,  and,  after  it  was  left  on  the  loft,  he  went  to  have  his 
head  shaved  by  a  barber  named  Sambhoo  Ragho,  who  lives 
only  one  door  away  from  me.  My  mother  and  myself  then 
remained  in  the  possession  of  the  information.  I  was  slapped 
and  threatened  by  my  paramour,  Tookaram,  and  that  was  the 
only  reason  why  I  did  not  inform  any  one  at  that  time.  When 
I  told  Tookaram  that  I  would  give  information  of  the  occurrence, 
he  slapped  me.  The  accused  Gopal  was  asked  by  Tookaram  to 
go  back  to  his  room,  and  he  did  so,  taking  away  with  him  the 
two  gold  ornaments  and  the  lota.  Yesso  Mahadhoo,  a  brother- 
in-law  of  Tookaram,  came  to  the  house  and  asked  Tookaram 
why  he  was  washing,  the  water-pipe  being  just  opposite. 
Tookaram  replied  that  he  was  washing  his  dhotur,  as  a  fowl  had 
polluted  it.  About  six  o'clock  of  the  evening  of  that  day  my 
mother  gave  me  three  pice  and  asked  me  to  buy  a  cocoanut, 
and  I  gave  the  money  to  Yesso,  who  went  and  fetched  a  cocoanut 
and  some  betel  leaves.  When  Yesso  and  others  were  in  the  room 
I  was  bathing,  and,  after  I  finished  my  bath,  my  mother  took 
the  cocoanut  and  the  betel  leaves  from  Yesso,  and  we  five  went 
to  the  sea.  The  party  consisted  of  Tookaram,  my  mother, 
Yesso,  Tookaram's  younger  brother,  and  myself.  On  reaching 
the  seashore,  my  mother  made  the  offering  to  the  sea,  and  prayed 
to  be  pardoned  for  what  we  had  done.  Before  we  went  to  the 
sea,  some  one  came  to  inquire  after  the  girl  Cassi.  The  police 
and  other  people  came  to  make  these  inquiries  both  before  and 
after  we  left  the  house  for  the  seashore.  The  police  questioned 
my  mother  about  the  girl,  and  she  replied  that  Cassi  had  come 
to  her  door,  but  had  left.  The  next  day  the  police  questioned 
Tookaram,  and  he,  too,  gave  a  similar  reply.  This  was  said 
the  same  night  when  the  search  was  made  for  the  girl.  After 
the  offering  was  made  to  the  sea,  we  partook  of  the  cocoanut 
and  returned  home,  when  my  mother  gave  me  some  food;  but 
Tookaram  did  not  partake  of  any  food  that  night.  After  dinner 
I  and  my  mother  slept  inside  the  room,  and  Tookaram  slept  on 
a  cot  near  his  brother-in-law.  Yesso  Mahadhoo,  just  outside 
the  door.  That  was  not  the  usual  place  where  Tookaram  slept. 
He  usually  slept  inskie  the  room.  The  body  of  the  deceased 
remained  on  the  loft  when  I  went  to  sleep.  The  room  in  which 
we  slept  was  locked,  and  I  heard  that  my  paramour,  Tookaram, 

67 


MARK     TWAIN 


was  restless  outside.  About  three  o'clock  the  following  morning, 
Tookaram  knocked  at  the  door,  when  both  myself  and  my  mother 
opened  it.  He  then  told  me  to  go  to  the  steps  leading  to  the 
quarry,  and  see  if  any  one  was  about.  Those  steps  lead  to  a 
stable,  through  which  we  go  to  the  quarry  at  the  back  of  the 
compoimd.  When  I  got  to  the  steps  I  saw  no  one  there.  Took- 
aram asked  me  if  any  one  was  there,  and  I  replied  that  I  could 
see  no  one  about.  He  then  took  the  body  of  the  deceased  from 
the  loft,  and,  having  wrapped  it  up  in  his  saree,  asked  me  to 
accompany  him  to  the  steps  of  the  quarry,  and  I  did  so.  The 
sarcc  now  produced  here  was  the  same.  Besides  the  saree ^ 
there  was  also  a  choice  on  the  body.  He  then  carried  the  body 
in  his  arms,  and  went  up  the  steps,  through  the  stable,  and  then 
to  the  right  hand  toward  a  sahib's  bungalow,  where  Tookaram 
placed  the  body  near  a  wall.  All  the  time  I  and  my  mother 
were  with  him.  When  the  body  was  taken  down,  Yesso  was 
lying  on  the  cot.  After  depositing  the  body  under  the  wall,  we 
all  returned  home,  and  soon  after  5  a.m.  the  police  again  came 
and  took  Tookaram  away.  About  an  hour  after  they  returned 
and  took  me  and  my  mother  away.  We  were  questioned  about 
it,  when  I  made  a  statement.  Two  hours  later  I  was  taken  to 
the  room,  and  I  pointed  out  this  waistband,  the  dhotur,  the 
mattress,  and  the  wooden  post  to  Superintendent  Nolan  and 
Inspectors  Roberts  and  Rashanali,  in  the  presence  of  my  mother 
and  Tookaram.  Tookaram  killed  the  girl  Cassi  for  her  orna- 
ments, which  he  wanted  for  the  girl  to  whom  he  was  shortly 
going  to  be  married.  The  body  was  foimd  in  the  same  place 
where  it  was  deposited  by  Tookaram." 

The  criminal  side  of  the  native  has  always  been 
picturesque,  always  readable.  The  Thuggee  and  one 
or  two  other  particularly  outrageous  features  of  it 
have  been  suppressed  by  the  EngHsh,  but  there  is 
enough  of  it  left  to  keep  it  darkly  interesting.  One 
finds  evidence  of  these  survivals  in  the  newspapers. 
Macaulay  has  a  light-throwing  passage  upon  this 
matter  in  his  great  historical  sketch  of  Warren 
Hastings,  where  he  is  describing  some  effects  which 

68 


\ 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

followed  the  temporary  paralysis  of  Hastings's  pow- 
erful government  brought  about  by  Sir  Philip  Francis 
and  his  party : 

The  natives  considered  Hastings  as  a  fallen  man;  and  they 
acted  after  their  kind.  Some  of  our  readers  may  have  seen, 
in  India,  a  cloud  of  crows  pecking  a  sick  vulture  to  death — no 
bad  type  of  what  happens  in  that  country  as  often  as  fortune 
deserts  one  who  has  been  great  and  dreaded.  In  an  instant 
all  the  sycophants,  who  had  lately  been  ready  to  he  for  him, 
to  forge  for  him,  to  poison  for  him,  hasten  to  piirchase  the  favor 
of  his  victorious  enemies  by  accusing  him.  An  Indian  govern- 
ment has  only  to  let  it  be  understood  that  it  wishes  a  particular 
man  to  be  ruined,  and  in  twenty-four  hours  it  will  be  furnished 
with  grave  charges,  supported  by  depositions  so  full  and  cir- 
cumstantial that  any  person  unaccustomed  to  Asiatic  mendacity 
would  regard  them  as  decisive.  It  is  well  if  the  signature  of 
the  destined  victim  is  not  counterfeited  at  the  foot  of  some 
illegal  compact,  and  if  some  treasonable  paper  is  not  sUpped 
into  a  hiding-place  in  his  house. 

That  was  nearly  a  century  and  a  quarter  ago. 
An  article  in  one  of  the  chief  journals  of  India  (the 
Pioneer)  shows  that  in  some  respects  the  native  of 
to-day  is  just  what  his  ancestor  was  then.  Here  are 
niceties  of  so  subtle  and  delicate  a  sort  that  they  lift 
their  breed  of  rascality  to  a  place  among  the  fine 
arts,  and  almost  entitle  it  to  respect : 

The  records  of  the  Indian  courts  might  certainly  be  relied 
upon  to  prove  that  swindlers  as  a  class  in  the  East  come  very 
close  to,  if  they  do  not  surpass,  in  brilliancy  of  execution  and 
originahty  of  design  the  most  expert  of  their  fraternity  in  Europe 
and  America.  India  in  especial  is  the  home  of  forgery.  There 
are  some  particular  districts  which  are  noted  as  marts  for  the 
finest  specimens  of  the  forger's  handiwork.  The  business  is 
carried  on  by  firms  who  possess  stores  of  stamped  papers  to  suit 
every  emergency.  They  habitually  lay  in  a  store  of  fresh  stamped 
papers  every  year,  and  some  of  the  older  and  more  thriving 

69 


MARK     TWAIN 

houses  can  supply  documents  for  the  past  forty  years,  bearing  the 
proper  water-mark  and  possessing  the  genuine  appearance  of  age. 
Other  districts  have  earned  notoriety  for  skilled  perjury,  a 
pre-eminence  that  excites  a  respectful  admiration  when  one 
thinks  of  the  universal  prevalence  of  the  art,  and  persons  desirous 
of  succeeding  in  false  suits  are  ready  to  pay  handsomely  to  avail 
themselves  of  the  services  of  these  local  experts  as  witnesses. 

Various  instances  illustrative  of  the  methods  of 
those  swindlers  are  given.  They  exhibit  deep  cun- 
ning and  total  depravity  on  the  part  of  the  swindler 
and  his  pals,  and  more  obtuseness  on  the  part  of 
the  victim  than  one  would  expect  to  find  in  a  country 
where  suspicion  of  your  neighbor  must  surely  be 
one  of  the  earliest  things  learned.  The  favorite 
subject  is  the  young  fool  who  has  just  come  into 
a  fortime  and  is  trying  to  see  how  poor  a  use  he  can 
put  it  to.     I  will  quote  one  example: 

Sometimes  another  form  of  confidence  trick  is  adopted,  which 
is  invariably  successful.  The  particular  pigeon  is  spotted,  and, 
his  acquaintance  having  been  made,  he  is  encouraged  in  every 
form  of  vice.  When  the  friendship  is  thoroughly  estabHshed, 
the  swindler  remarks  to  the  yoimg  man  that  he  has  a  brother 
who  has  asked  him  to  lend  him  Rs.  10,000.  The  swindler  says 
he  has  the  money  and  would  lend  it;  but,  as  the  borrower  is 
his  brother,  he  cannot  charge  interest.  So  he  proposes  that  he 
should  hand  the  dupe  the  money,  and  the  latter  should  lend 
it  to  the  swindler's  brother,  exacting  a  heavy  pre-payment  of 
interest,  which,  it  is  pointed  out,  they  may  equally  enjoy  in 
dissipation.  The  dupe  sees  no  objection,  and  on  the  appointed 
day  receives  Rs. 7,000  from  the  swindler,  which  he  hands  over 
to  the  confederate.  The  latter  is  profuse  in  his  thanks,  and 
executes  a  promissory  note  for  Rs.  10,000,  payable  to  bearer. 
The  swindler  allows  the  scheme  to  remain  quiescent  for  a  time, 
and  then  suggests  that,  as  the  money  has  not  been  repaid  and 
as  it  would  be  unpleasant  to  sue  his  brother,  it  would  be  better 
to  sell  the  note  in  the  bazar.     The  dupe  hands  the  note  over, 

70 


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FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

for  the  money  he  advanced  was  not  his,  and,  on  being  informed 
that  it  would  be  necessary  to  have  his  signature  on  the  back  so 
as  to  render  the  security  negotiable,  he  signs  without  any  hesita- 
tion. The  swindler  passes  it  on  to  confederates,  and  the  latter 
employ  a  respectable  firm  of  solicitors  to  ask  the  dupe  if  his 
signature  is  genuine.  He  admits  it  at  once,  and  his  fate  is  sealed. 
A  suit  is  filed  by  a  confederate  against  the  dupe,  two  accomphces 
being  made  co-defendants.  They  admit  their  signatures  as 
indorsers,  and  the  one  swears  he  bought  the  note  for  value 
from  the  dupe.  The  latter  has  nO  defense,  for  no  court  would 
believe  the  apparently  idle  explanation  of  the  manner  in  which 
he  came  to  indorse  the  note. 

There  is  only  one  India!  It  is  the  only  country 
that  has  a  monopoly  of  grand  and  imposing  special- 
ties. When  another  cotmtry  has  a  remarkable  thing, 
it  cannot  have  it  all  to  itself — some  other  coimtry 
has  a  duplicate.  But  India — that  is  different.  Its 
marvels  are  its  own ;  the  patents  cannot  be  infringed ; 
imitations  are  not  possible.  And  think  of  the  size 
of  them,  the  majesty  of  them,  the  weird  and  out- 
landish character  of  the  most  of  them! 

There  is  the  Plague,  the  Black  Death:  India 
invented  it;   India  is  the  cradle  of  that  mighty  birth. 

The  Car  of  Juggernaut  was  India's  invention. 

I      So  was  the  Suttee;    and  within  the  time  of  men 

t  still  living  eight  hundred  widows  willingly,  and,  in 

fact,  rejoicingly,  burned  themselves  to  death  on  the 

bodies   of  their   dead   husbands  in   a   single  year. 

Eight  hundred  would  do  it  this  year  if  the  British 

^  Government  would  let  them. 

Famine  is  India's  specialty.  Elsewhere  famines 
are  inconsequential  incidents — in  India  they  are 
devastating  cataclysms;  in  one  case  they  annihilate 
hundreds;   in  the  other,  millions. 

71 


MARK     TWAIN 


India  has  two  million  gods,  and  worships  them  all.  < 
In  religion  all  other  countries  are  paupers;  India  is  i 
the  only  millionaire.  i 

With  her  everything  is  on  a  giant  scale — even  ; 
her  poverty;  no  other  coimtry  can  show  anything  ; 
to  compare  with  it.  And  she  has  been  used  to  wealth  * 
on  so  vast  a  scale  that  she  has  to  shorten  to  single  j 
words  the  expressions  describing  great  sums.  She  i 
describes  one  himdred  thousand  with  one  word — a  ' 
lakh;  she  describes  ten  millions  with  one  word — a  ; 
crore.  \ 

In  the  bowels  of  the  granite  mountains  she  has  ; 
patiently  carved  out  dozens  of  vast  temples,  and  | 
made  them  glorious  with  sculptiired  colonnades  and 
stately  groups  of  statuary,  and  has  adorned  the 
eternal  walls  with  noble  paintings.  She  has  built 
fortresses  of  such  magnitude  that  the  show-strong- 
holds of  the  rest  of  the  world  are  but  modest  little 
things  by  comparison;  palaces  that  are  wonders  for 
rarity  of  materials,  delicacy  and  beauty  of  workman- 
ship, and  for  cost;  and  one  tomb  which  men  go 
around  the  globe  to  see.  It  takes  eighty  nations, 
speaking  eighty  languages,  to  people  her,  and  they 
number  three  himdred  millions. 

On  top  of  all  this  she  is  the  mother  and  home  of 
that  wonder  of  wonders — caste — and  of  that  mystery 
of  mysteries,  the  satanic  brotherhood  of  the  Thugs. 

India  had  the  start  of  the  whole  world  in  the  be- 
ginning of  things.  She  had  the  first  civilization; 
she  had  the  first  accumulation  of  material  wealth; 
she  was  populous  with  deep  thinkers  and  subtle 
intellects;   she  had  mines,  and  woods,  and  a  fruitful 

72 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

soil.  It  would  seem  as  if  she  should  have  kept  the 
lead,  and  should  be  to-day  not  the  meek  dependent 
of  an  alien  master,  but  mistress  of  the  world,  and 
delivering  law  and  command  to  every  tribe  and 
nation  in  it.  But,  in  truth,  there  was  never  any 
possibility  of  such  supremacy  for  her.  If  there  had 
been  but  one  India  and  one  language — but  there 
were  eighty  of  them!  Where  there  are  eighty 
nations  and  several  hundred  governments,  fighting 
and  quarreling  must  be  the  common  business  of  life; 
unity  of  purpose  and  policy  are  impossible;  out  of 
such  elements  supremacy  in  the  world  cannot  come. 
Even  caste  itself  could  have  had  the  defeating  effect 
of  a  multiplicity  of  tongues,  no  doubt;  for  it  sepa- 
rates a  people  into  layers,  and  layers,  and  still  other 
layers,  that  have  no  comminiity  of  feeling  with  each 
other;  and  in  such  a  condition  of  things  as  that, 
patriotism  can  have  no  healthy  growth. 

It  was  the  division  of  the  coimtry  into  so  many 
states  and  nations  that  made  Thuggee  possible  and 
prosperous.  It  is  difficult  to  realize  the  situation. 
But  perhaps  one  may  approximate  it  by  imagining 
the  states  of  our  Union  peopled  by  separate  nations, 
speaking  separate  languages,  with  guards  and 
custom-houses  strung  along  all  frontiers,  plenty  of 
interruptions  for  travelers  and  traders,  interpreters 
able  to  handle  all  the  languages  very  rare  or  non- 
existent, and  a  few  wars  always  going  on  here  and 
there  and  yonder  as  a  further  embarrassment  to 
commerce  and  excursioning.  It  would  make  inter- 
communication in  a  measure  un general.  India  had 
eighty  languages,  and  more  custom-houses  than  cats. 

73 


MARK     TWAIN 

No  clever  man  with  the  instinct  of  a  highway  robber 
could  fail  to  notice  what  a  chance  for  business  was 
here  offered.  India  was  full  of  clever  men  with  the 
highwayman  instinct,  and  so,  quite  naturally,  the 
brotherhood  of  the  Thugs  came  into  being  to  meet 
the  long-felt  want. 

How  long  ago  that  was  nobody  knows — centuries, 
it  is  supposed.  One  of  the  chiefest  wonders  connected 
with  it  was  the  success  with  which  it  kept  its  secret. 
The  English  trader  did  business  in  India  two  hundred 
years  and  more  before  he  ever  heard  of  it;  and  yet 
it  was  assassinating  its  thousands  all  around  him 
every  year,  the  whole  time. 


CHAPTER  Vin 

SLEEPING-CARS,   PLAIN  BUT  PLEASANT 

The  old  saw  says,  "Let    a    sleeping    dog    lie."     Right.     Still,  when  there    is 
much  at  stake  it  is  better  to  get  a  newspaper  to  do  it. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

From  Diary: 

/ANUARY  28.  I  learned  of  an  official  Thug-book 
the  other  day.  I  was  not  aware  before  that  there 
was  such  a  thing.  I  am  allowed  the  temporary 
use  of  it.  We  are  making  preparations  for  travel. 
Mainly  the  preparations  are  purchases  of  bedding. 
This  is  to  be  used  in  sleeping-berths  in  the  trains; 
in  private  houses  sometimes;  and  in  nine-tenths 
of  the  hotels.  It  is  not  realizable ;  and  yet  it  is  true. 
It  is  a  survival;  an  apparently  unnecessary  thing 
which  in  some  strange  way  has  outlived  the  condi- 
tions which  once  made  it  necessary.  It  comes  down 
from  a  time  when  the  railway  and  the  hotel  did  not 
exist;  when  the  occasional  white  traveler  went 
horseback  or  by  bullock-cart,  and  stopped  over- 
night in  the  small  dak-bungalow  provided  at  easy 
distances  by  the  government — a  shelter,  merely,  and 
nothing  more.  He  had  to  carry  bedding  along,  or 
do  without.  The  dwellings  of  the  English  residents 
are  spacious  and  comfortable  and  commodiously 
furnished,  and  surely  it  must  be  an  odd  sight  to 
see  half  a  dozen  guests  come  filing  into  such  a  place 
and  dumping  blankets  and  pillows  here  and  there 

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MARK     TWAIN 

and  everywhere.  But  custom  makes  incongruous 
things  congruous. 

One  buys  the  bedding,  with  waterproof  hold-all 
for  it,  at  almost  any  shop — there  is  no  difficulty 
about  it. 

January  jo.  What  a  spectacle  the  railway-station 
was  at  train-time!  It  was  a  very  large  station,  yet 
when  we  arrived  it  seemed  as  if  the  whole  world  was 
present — half  of  it  inside,  the  other  half  outside, 
and  both  halves,  bearing  mountainous  head-loads  of 
bedding  and  other  freight,  trying  simultaneously  to 
pass  each  other,  in  opposing  floods,  in  one  narrow 
door.  These  opposing  floods  were  patient,  gentle, 
long-suffering  natives,  with  whites  scattered  among 
them  at  rare  intervals;  and  wherever  a  white  man's 
native  servant  appeared,  that  native  seemed  to  have 
put  aside  his  natural  gentleness  for  the  time  and 
invested  himself  with  the  white  man's  privilege  of 
making  a  way  for  himself  by  promptly  shoving  all 
intervening  black  things  out  of  it.  In  these  exhibi- 
tions of  authority  Satan  was  scandalous.  He  was 
probably  a  Thug  in  one  of  his  former  incarnations. 

Inside  the  great  station,  tides  upon  tides  of  rain- 
bow-costumed natives  swept  along,  this  way  and 
that,  in  massed  and  bewildering  confusion,  eager, 
anxious,  belated,  distressed;  and  washed  up  to  the 
long  trains  and  flowed  into  them  with  their  packs 
and  btmdles,  and  disappeared,  followed  at  once  by 
the  next  wash,  the  next  wave.  And  here  and  there, 
in  the  midst  of  this  hurly-burly,  and  seemingly  un- 
disturbed by  it,  sat  great  groups  of  natives  on  the 
bare  stone  floor — ^young,  slender  brown  women,  old 

76 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

gray  wrinkled  women,  little  soft  brown  babies,  old 
men,  young  men,  boys;  all  poor  people,  but  all 
the  females  among  them,  both  big  and  Httle,  be- 
jeweled  with  cheap  and  showy  nose-rings,  toe-rings, 
leglets,  and  armlets,  these  things  constituting  all 
their  wealth,  no  doubt.  These  silent  crowds  sat 
there  with  their  humble  bimdles  and  baskets  and 
small  household  gear  about  them,  and  patiently 
waited — for  what?  A  train  that  was  to  start  at 
some  time  or  other  during  the  day  or  night!  They 
hadn't  timed  themselves  well,  but  that  was  no  mat- 
ter— the  thing  had  been  so  ordered  from  on  high, 
therefore  why  worry?  There  was  plenty  of  time, 
hours  and  hours  of  it,  and  the  thing  that  was 
to  happen  would  happen  —  there  was  no  hurry- 
ing it. 

The  natives  traveled  third  class,  and  at  marvel- 
ously  cheap  rates.  They  were  packed  and  crammed 
into  the  cars  that  held  each  about  fifty;  and  it  was 
said  that  often  a  Brahman  of  the  highest  caste  was 
thus  brought  into  personal  touch,  and  consequent 
defilement,  with  persons  of  the  lowest  castes — no 
doubt  a  very  shocking  thing  if  a  body  could  under- 
stand it  and  properly  appreciate  it.  Yes,  a  Brahman 
who  didn't  own  a  rupee  and  couldn't  borrow  one 
might  have  to  touch  elbows  with  a  rich  hereditary 
lord  of  inferior  caste,  inheritor  of  an  ancient  title  a 
couple  of  yards  long,  and  he  would  just  have  to  stand 
it;  for  if  either  of  the  two  was  allowed  to  go  in  the 
cars  where  the  sacred  white  people  were,  it  probably 
wouldn't  be  the  august  poor  Brahman.  There  was 
an  immense  string  of  those  third-class  cars,  for  the 

77 


MARK     TWAIN 

natives  travel  by  hordes ;  and  a  weary  hard  night  of 
it  the  occupants  would  have,  no  doubt. 

When  we  reached  our  car,  Satan,  and  Barney  had 
already  arrived  there  with  their  train  of  porters  car- 
rying bedding  and  parasols  and  cigar-boxes,  and  were 
at  work.  We  named  him  Barney  for  short;  for  we 
couldn't  use  his  real  name,  there  wasn't  time. 

It  was  a  car  that  promisedcomfort ;  indeed,  luxury. 
Yet  the  cost  of  it — well,  economy  could  no  further 
go ;  even  in  France ;  not  even  in  Italy.  It  was  built 
of  the  plainest  and  cheapest  partially  smoothed 
boards,  with  a  coating  of  dull  paint  on  them,  and 
there  was  nowhere  a  thought  of  decoration.  The 
floor  was  bare,  but  would  not  long  remain  so  when 
the  dust  should  begm  to  fly.  Across  one  end  of  the 
compartment  ran  a  netting  for  the  accommodation 
of  hand-baggage ;  at  the  other  end  was  a  door  which 
would  shut,  upon  compulsion,  but  wouldn't  stay 
shut;  it  opened  into-  a  narrow  little  closet  which 
had  a  washbowl  in  one  end  of  it,  and  a  place  to  put 
a  towel,  in  case  you  had  one  with  you — and  you 
would  be  sure  to  have  towels,  because  you  buy  them 
with  the  bedding,  knowing  that  the  railway  doesn't 
fiunish  them.  On  each  side  of  the  car,  and  running 
fore  and  aft,  was  a  broad  leather-covered  sofa — to 
sit  on  in  the  day  and  sleep  on  at  night.  Over  each 
sofa  hung,  by  straps,  a  wide,  fiat,  leather-covered 
shelf — to  sleep  on.  In  the  daytime  you  can  hitch 
it  up  against  the  wall,  out  of  the  way — and  then 
you  have  a  big  unencumbered  and  most  comfortable 
room  to  spread  out  in.  No  car  in  any  country  is 
quite  its  equal  for  comfort  (and  privacy)  I  think. 

78 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

For  usually  there  are  but  two  persons  in  it;  and 
even  when  there  are  four  there  is  but  little  sense  of 
impaired  privacy.  Our  own  cars  at  home  can  sur- 
pass the  railway  world  in  all  details  but  that  one :  they 
have  no  coziness ;  there  are  too  many  people  together. 

At  the  foot  of  each  sofa  was  a  side-door,  for 
entrance  and  exit. 

Along  the  whole  length  of  the  sofa  on  each  side 
of  the  car  ran  a  row  of  large  single-plate  windows, 
of  a  blue  tint — blue  to  soften  the  bitter  glare  of  the 
sun  and  protect  one's  eyes  from  torture.  These 
could  be  let  down  out  of  the  way  when  one  wanted 
the  breeze.  In  the  roof  were  two  oil-lamps  which 
gave  a  light  strong  enough  to  read  by;  each  had  a 
green-cloth  attachment  by  which  it  could  be  covered 
when  the  light  should  be  no  longer  needed. 

While  we  talked  outside  with  friends,  Barney  and 
Satan  placed  the  hand-baggage,  books,  fruits,  and 
soda-bottles  in  the  racks,  and  the  hold-alls  and  heavy 
baggage  in  the  closet,  hung  the  overcoats  and  stm- 
helmets  and  towels  on  the  hooks,  hoisted  the  two 
bed-shelves  up  out  of  the  way,  then  shouldered  their 
bedding  and  retired  to  the  third  class. 

Now  then,  you  see  what  a  handsome,  spacious, 
light,  airy,  homelike  place  it  was,  wherein  to  walk 
up  and  down,  or  sit  and  write,  or  stretch  out  and 
read  and  smoke.  A  central  door  in  the  forward  end 
of  the  compartment  opened  into  a  similar  compart- 
ment. It  was  occupied  by  my  wife  and  daughter. 
About  nine  in  the  evening,  while  we  halted  awhile 
at  a  station,  Barney  and  Satan  came  and  undid  the 
clumsy  big  hold-alls,  and  spread  the  bedding  on  the 

79 


MARK    TWAIN 

sofas  in  both  compartments — mattresses,  sheets,  gay 
coverlets,  pillows,  all  complete;  there  are  no  cham- 
bermaids in  India — apparently  it  was  an  office  that 
was  never  heard  of.  Then  they  closed  the  com- 
municating door,  nimbly  tidied  up  our  place,  put 
the  night-clothing  on  the  beds  and  the  slippers  tmder 
them,  then  returned  to  their  own  quarters. 

January  ji.  It  was  novel  and  pleasant,  and  I 
stayed  awake  as  long  as  I  could,  to  enjoy  it,  and  to 
read  about  those  strange  people  the  Thugs.  In  my 
sleep  they  remained  with  me,  and  tried  to  strangle 
me.  The  leader  of  the  gang  was  that  giant  Hindu 
who  was  such  a  picture  in  the  strong  light  when  we 
were  leaving  those  Hindu  betrothal  festivities  at  two 
o'clock  in  the  morning — Rao  Bahadur  Baskirao 
Balinkanje  Pitale,  Vakeel  to  the  Gaikwar  of  Baroda. 
It  was  he  that  brought  me  the  invitation  from  his 
master  to  go  to  Baroda  and  lecture  to  that  prince — 
and  now  he  was  misbehaving  in  my  dreams.  But  all 
things  can  happen  in  dreams.  It  is,  indeed,  as  the 
Sweet  Singer  of  Michigan  says — irrelevantly,  of 
course,  for  the  one  and  unfailing  great  quality  which 
distinguishes  her  poetry  from  Shakespeare's  and  makes 
it  precious  to  us  is  its  stem  and  simple  irrelevancy : 

My  heart  was  gay  and  happy, 

This  was  ever  in  my  mind, 
There  is  better  times  a  coming. 

And  I  hope  some  day  to  find 
Myself  capable  of  composing, 

It  was  my  heart's  delight 
To  compose  on  a  sentimental  subject 

If  it  came  in  my  mind  just  right. ^ 

»  The  Sentimental  Song  Book,  p.  49;  theme,  "The  Author's  Early 
Life,"  19th  stanza. 

80 


FOLLOWING    THE     EQUATOR 

Baroda.  Arrived  at  seven  this  morning.  The  dawn 
was  just  beginning  to  show.  It  was  foriom  to  have 
to  turn  out  in  a  strange  place  at  such  a  time,  and  the 
bHnking  Hghts  in  the  station  made  it  seem  night  still. 
But  the  gentlemen  who  had  come  to  receive  us  were 
there  with  their  servants,  and  they  made  quick  work; 
there  was  no  lost  time.  We  were  soon  outside  and 
moving  swiftly  through  the  soft  gray  light,  and 
presently  were  comfortably  housed — with  more  ser- 
vants to  help  than  we  were  used  to,  and  with  rather 
embarrassingly  important  officials  to  direct  them. 
But  it  was  custom;  they  spoke  Ballarat  English,  their 
bearing  was  charming  and  hospitable,  and  so  all 
went  well. 

Breakfast  was  a  satisfaction.  Across  the  lawns  was 
visible  in  the  distance  through  the  open  window  an 
Indian  well,  with  two  oxen  tramping  leisiirely  up  and 
down  long  inclines,  drawing  water;  and  out  of  the 
stillness  came  the  suffering  screech  of  the  machiner^^ 
— ^not  quite  musical,  and  yet  soothingly  melancholy 
and  dreamy  and  reposeful — a  wail  of  lost  spirits, 
one  might  imagine.  And  commemorative  and  remi- 
niscent, perhaps;  for  of  course  the  Thugs  used  to 
throw  people  down  that  well  when  they  were  done 
with  them. 

After  breakfast  the  day  began,  a  sufficiently  busy 
one.  We  were  driven  by  winding  roads  through  a 
vast  park,  with  noble  forests  of  great  trees,  and  with 
tangles  and  jungles  of  lovely  growths  of  a  humbler 
sort;  and  at  one  place  three  large  gray  apes  came 
out  and  pranced  across  the  road — a  good  deal  of  a 
surprise  and  an  unpleasant  one,  for  such  creatures 

8i 


MARK     TWAIN 

belong  in  the  menagerie,  and  they  look  artificial  and 
out  of  place  in  a  wilderness. 

We  came  to  the  dtVy  by  and  by,  and  drove  all 
through  it.  Intensely  Indian,  it  was,  and  crumbly, 
and  moldering,  and  immemorially  old,  to  all  ap- 
pearance. And  the  houses — oh,  indescribably  quaint 
and  curious  they  were,  with  their  fronts  an  elaborate 
lacework  of  intricate  and  beautiful  wood-car\'ing, 
and  now  and  then  further  adorned  with  rude  pic- 
tures of  elephants  and  princes  and  gods  done  in 
shouting  colors;  and  aU  the  ground  floors  along 
these  cramped  and  narrow  lanes  occupied  as  shops — 
shops  unbelievably  small  and  impossibly  packed 
with  m.erchantable  rubbish,  and  vrith  nine-tenths- 
naked  natives  squatting  at  their  work  of  hammering, 
pounding,  brazing,  soldering,  sewing,  designing,  cook- 
ing, measuring  out  grain,  grinding  it,  repairing  idols — 
and  then  the  swarm  of  ragged  and  noisy  humanity 
imder  the  horses'  feet  and  ever^-where,  and  the  per- 
vading reek  and  fume  and  smell!  It  was  all  won- 
derful and  delightful. 

Imagine  a  file  of  elephants  marching  through  such 
a  crevice  of  a  street  and  scraping  the  paint  off  both 
sides  of  it  with  their  hides.  How  big  they  must 
look,  and  how  little  they  must  make  the  houses 
look;  and  when  the  elephants  are  in  their  gHttering 
court  costtmie,  what  a  contrast  they  must  make 
with  the  humble  and  sordid  surroundings.  And 
when  a  mad  elephant  goes  raging  through,  belt- 
ing right  and  left  with  his  tnmk,  how  do  these 
swarms  of  people  get  out  of  the  way  ?  I  suppose 
it   is    a   thing   which   happens    now    and    then    in 

82 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

the   mad    season    (for  elephants  have  a  mad  sea- 
son). 

I  wonder  how  old  the  to^-n  is.  There  are  patches 
of  building — massive  structures,  monuments,  appar- 
ently— that  are  so  battered  and  worn,  and  seemingly 
so  tired  and  so  burdened  with  the  weight  of  age, 
and  so  dulled  and  stupefied  with  tr\'ing  to  remember 
things  they  forgot  before  history-  began,  that  they 
give  one  the  feeling  that  they  must  have  been  a  part 
of  original  Creation.  This  is  indeed  one  of  the  oldest 
of  the  princedoms  of  India,  and  has  always  been 
celebrated  for  its  barbaric  pomps  and  splendors,  and 
for  the  wealth  of  its  princes. 


CHAPTER  IX 

I  RIDE   AN  ELEPHANT BY  REQUEST 

It  takes  your  enemy  and  your  friend,  working  together,  to  hurt  you  to  th<» 
heart;   the  one  to  slander  you  and  the  other  to  get  the  news  to  you. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

OUT  of  the  town  again;  a  long  drive  through 
open  country,  by  winding  roads  among  secluded 
villages  nestling  in  the  inviting  shade  of  tropic 
vegetation,  a  Sabbath  stillness  everywhere,  some- 
times a  pervading  sense  of  solitude,  but  always 
barefoot  natives  gliding  by  like  spirits,  without 
sound  of  footfall,  and  others  in  the  distance  dissolv- 
ing away  and  vanishing  like  the  creatures  of  dreams. 
Now  and  then  a  string  of  stately  camels  passed  by — 
always  interesting  things  to  look  at — and  they  were 
velvet-shod  by  nature,  and  made  no  noise.  Indeed, 
there  were  no  noises  of  any  sort  in  this  paradise. 
Yes,  once  there  was  one,  for  a  moment:  a  file  of 
native  convicts  passed  along  in  charge  of  an  officer, 
and  we  caught  the  soft  clink  of  their  chains.  In  a 
retired  spot,  resting  himself  under  a  tree,  was  a  holy 
person  —  a  naked  black  fakir,  thin  and  skinny, 
and  whitey-gray  all  over  with  ashes. 

By  and  by  to  the  elephant  stables,  and  I  took  a 
ride;  but  it  was  by  request — I  did  not  ask  for  it, 
and  didn't  want  it;  but  I  took  it,  because  otherwise 
they  would  have  thought  I  was  afraid,  which  I  was. 
The  elephant  kneels  down,  by  command — one  end 

84 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

of  him  at  a  time — and  you  climb  the  ladder  and 
get  into  the  howdah,  and  then  he  gets  up,  one  end 
at  a  time,  just  as  a  ship  gets  up  over  a  wave;  and 
after  that,  as  he  strides  monstrously  about,  his 
motion  is  much  like  a  ship's  motion.  The  mahout 
bores  into  the  back  of  his  head  with  a  great  iron 
prod,  and  you  wonder  at  his  temerity  and  at  the 
elephant's  patience,  and  you  think  that  perhaps  the 
patience  will  not  last ;  but  it  does,  and  nothing  hap- 
pens. The  mahout  talks  to  the  elephant  in  a  low 
voice  all  the  time,  and  the  elephant  seems  to  under- 
stand it  all  and  to  be  pleased  with  it ;  and  he  obeys 
every  order  in  the  most  contented  and  docile  way. 
Among  these  twenty-five  elephants  were  two  which 
were  larger  than  any  I  had  ever  seen  before,  and  if  I 
had  thought  I  could  learn  to  not  be  afraid,  I  would 
have  taken  one  of  them  while  the  police  were  not 
looking. 

In  the  howdah-house  there  were  many  howdahs 
that  were  made  of  silver,  one  of  gold,  and  one  of 
old  ivory,  and  equipped  with  cushions  and  canopies 
of  rich  and  costly  stuffs.  The  wardrobe  of  the  ele- 
phants was  there,  too;  vast  velvet  covers  stiff  and 
heavy  with  gold  embroidery;  and  bells  of  silver  and 
gold;  and  ropes  of  these  metals  for  fastening  the 
things  on — harness,  so  to  speak;  and  monster  hoops 
of  massive  gold  for  the  elephant  to  wear  on  his 
ankles  when  he  is  out  in  procession  on  business  of 
state. 

But  we  did  not  see  the  treasury  of  crown  jewels, 
and  that  was  a  disappointment,  for  in  mass  and  rich- 
ness it  ranks  only  second  in  India.     By  mistake  we 

85 


MARK     TWAIN 

were  taken  to  see  the  new  palace  instead,  and  we 
used  up  the  last  remnant  of  our  spare  time  there. 
It  was  a  pity,  too;  for  the  new  palace  is  mixed 
modem  American-European,  and  has  not  a  merit 
except  costliness.  It  is  wholly  foreign  to  India,  and 
impudent  and  out  of  place.  The  architect  has  es- 
caped. This  comes  of  overdoing  the  suppression  of 
the  Thugs;  they  had  their  merits.  The  old  palace 
is  Oriental  and  charming,  and  in  consonance  with 
the  country.  The  old  palace  would  still  be  great  if 
there  were  nothing  of  it  but  the  spacious  and  lofty 
hall  where  the  durbars  are  held.  It  is  not  a  good 
place  to  lecture  in,  on  account  of  the  echoes,  but  it 
is  a  good  place  to  hold  durbars  in  and  regulate  the 
affairs  of  a  kingdom,  and  that  is  what  it  is  for.  If  I 
had  it  I  would  have  a  durbar  every  day,  instead  of 
once  or  twice  a  year. 

The  prince  is  an  educated  genjtleman.  His  culture 
is  European.  He  has  been  in  Europe  five  times. 
People  say  that  this  is  costly  amusement  for  him, 
since  in  crossing  the  sea  he  must  sometimes  be 
obliged  to  drink  water  from  vessels  that  are  more  or 
less  public,  and  thus  damage  his  caste.  To  get  it 
purified  again  he  must  make  pilgrimage  to  some 
renowned  Hindu  temples  and  contribute  a  fortime 
or  two  to  them.  His  people  are  like  the  other 
Hindus,  profoundly  religious;  and  they  could  not 
be  content  with  a  master  who  was  impure. 

We  failed  to  see  the  jewels,  but  we  saw  the  gold 
cannon  and  the  silver  one — they  seemed  to  be  six- 
pounders.  They  were  not  designed  for  business, 
but  for  salutes  upon  rare  and  particularly  important 

86 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

state  occasions.  An  ancestor  of  the  present  Gaikwar 
had  the  silver  one  made,  and  a  subsequent  ancestor 
had  the  gold  one  made,  in  order  to  outdo  him. 

This  sort  of  artillery  is  in  keeping  with  the  tradi- 
tions of  Baroda,  which  was  of  old  famous  for  style 
and  show.  It  used  to  entertain  visiting  rajahs  and 
viceroys  with  tiger-fights,  elephant-fights,  illumina- 
tions, and  elephant-processions  of  the  most  glittering 
and  gorgeous  character. 

It  makes  the  circus  a  pale,  poor  thing. 

In  the  train,  during  a  part  of  the  return  journey 
from  Baroda,  we  had  the  company  of  a  gentleman 
who  had  with  him  a  remarkable-looking  dog.  I  had 
not  seen  one  of  its  kind  before,  as  far  as  I  could 
remember;  though  of  course  I  might  have  seen  one 
and  not  noticed  it,  for  I  am  not  acquainted  with 
dogs,  but  only  with  cats.  This  dog's  coat  was 
smooth  and  shiny  and  black,  and  I  think  it  had  tan 
trimmings  around  the  edges  of  the  dog,  and  perhaps 
underneath.  It  was  a  long,  low  dog,  with  very 
short,  strange  legs — legs  that  curved  inboard,  some- 
thing like  parentheses  turned  the  wrong  way  (. 
Indeed,  it  was  made  on  the  plan  of  a  bench  for 
length  and  lowness.  It  seemed  to  be  satisfied,  but 
I  thought  the  plan  poor,  and  structurally  weak,  on 
account  of  the  distance  between  the  forw^ard  sup- 
ports and  those  abaft.  With  age  the  dog's  back 
was  likely  to  sag ;  and  it  seemed  to  me  that  it  would 
have  been  a  stronger  and  more  practicable  dog  if  it 
had  had  some  more  legs.  It  had  not  begun  to  sag 
yet,  but  the  shape  of  the  legs  showed  that  the  undue 
weight  imposed  upon  them  was  beginning  to  telL 

87 


MARK     TWAIN 

It  had  a  long  nose,  and  floppy  ears  that  hung  down, 
and  a  resigned  expression  of  countenance.  I  did 
not  like  to  ask  what  kind  of  a  dog  it  was,  or  how  it 
came  to  be  deformed,  for  it  was  plain  that  the 
gentleman  was  very  fond  of  it,  and  naturally  he 
could  be  sensitive  about  it.  From  delicacy  I  thought 
it  best  not  to  seem  to  notice  it  too  much.  No  doubt 
a  man  with  a  dog  like  that  feels  just  as  a  person  does 
who  has  a  child  that  is  out  of  true.  The  gentleman 
was  not  merely  fond  of  the  dog,  he  was  also  proud 
of  it — just  the  same,  again,  as  a  mother  feels  about 
her  child  when  it  is  an  idiot.  I  could  see  that  he 
was  proud  of  it,  notwithstanding  it  was  such  a  long 
dog  and  looked  so  resigned  and  pious.  It  had  been 
all  over  the  world  with  him,  and  had  been  pilgriming 
like  that  for  years  and  years.  It  had  traveled  fifty 
thousand  miles  by  sea  and  rail,  and  had  ridden  in 
front  of  him  on  his  horse  eight  thousand.  It  had  a 
silver  medal  from  the  Geographical  Society  of  Great 
Britain  for  its  travels,  and  I  saw  it.  It  had  won 
prizes  in  dog-shows,  both  in  India  and  in  England — 
I  saw  them. 

He  said  its  pedigree  was  on  record  in  the  Kennel 
Club,  and  that  it  was  a  well-known  dog.  He  said  a 
great  many  people  in  London  could  recognize  it  the 
moment  the}'  saw  it.  I  did  not  say  an^nhing,  but  I 
did  not  think  it  an\i:hing  strange;  I  should  know 
that  dog  again,  myself,  yet  I  am  not  careful  about 
noticing  dogs.  He  said  that  when  he  walked  along 
in  London,  people  often  stopped  and  looked  at  the 
dog.  Of  coiu-se  I  did  not  say  an\i:hing,  for  I  did 
not  want  to  hurt  his  feelings,  but  I  could  have  ex- 

88 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

plained  to  him  that  if  you  take  a  great  long  low  dog 
like  that  and  waddle  it  along  the  street  anywhere  in 
the  world  and  not  charge  anything,  people  will  stop 
and  look.  He  was  gratified  because  the  dog  took 
prizes.  But  that  was  nothing;  if  I  were  built  like 
that  I  could  take  prizes  myself.  I  wished  I  knew 
what  kind  of  a  dog  it  was,  and  what  it  was  for,  but 
I  could  not  very  well  ask,  for  that  would  show  that 
I  did  not  know.  Not  that  I  want  a  dog  like  that, 
but  only  to  know  the  secret  of  its  birth. 

I  think  he  was  going  to  himt  elephants  with  it, 
because  I  know,  from  remarks  dropped  by  him, 
that  he  has  hunted  large  game  in  India  and  Africa, 
and  likes  it.  But  I  think  that  if  he  tries  to  hunt 
elephants  with  it,  he  is  going  to  be  disappointed.  I 
do  not  believe  that  it  is  suited  for  elephants.  It 
lacks  energy,  it  lacks  force  of  character,  it  lacks 
bitterness.  These  things  all  show  in  the  meekness 
and  resignation  of  its  expression.  It  would  not 
attack  an  elephant,  I  am  sure  of  it.  It  might  not 
run  if  it  saw  one  coming,  but  it  looked  to  me  like  a 
dog  that  would  sit  down  and  pray. 

I  wish  he  had  told  me  what  breed  it  was,  if  there 
are  others;  but  I  shall  know  the  dog  next  time,  and 
then  if  I  can  bring  myself  to  it  I  will  put  delicacy 
aside  and  ask.  If  I  seem  strangely  interested  in 
dogs,  I  have  a  reason  for  it;  for  a  dog  saved  me  from 
an  embarrassing  position  once,  and  that  has  made 
me  grateful  to  these  animals;  and  if  by  study  I 
could  learn  to  tell  some  of  the  kinds  from  the  others, 
I  should  be  greatly  pleased.  I  only  know  one  kind 
apart,  yet,  and  that  is  the  kind  that  saved  me  that 

89 


MARK     TWAIN 

time.  I  always  know  that  kind  when  I  meet  it, 
and  if  it  is  hungry  or  lost  I  take  care  of  it.  The 
matter  happened  in  this  way : 

It  was  years  and  years  ago.  I  had  received  a 
note  from  Mr.  Augustin  Daly  of  the  Fifth  Avenue 
Theater,  asking  me  to  call  the  next  time  I  should  be 
in  New  York.  I  was  writing  plays,  in  those  days, 
and  he  was  admiring  them  and  trying  to  get  me  a 
chance  to  get  them  played  in  Siberia.  I  took  the 
first  train — the  early  one — the  one  that  leaves  Hart- 
ford at  eight-twenty-nine  in  the  morning.  At  New 
Haven  I  bought  a  paper,  and  found  it  filled  with 
glaring  display -lines  about  a  ''bench-show"  there. 
I  had  often  heard  of  bench-shows,  but  had  never 
felt  any  interest  in  them,  because  I  supposed  they 
were  lectures  that  were  not  well  attended.  It  tinned 
out,  now,  that  it  was  not  that,  but  a  dog-show. 
There  was  a  double-leaded  column  about  the  king- 
feature  of  this  one,  which  was  called  a  Saint  Bernard, 
and  was  worth  ten  thousand  dollars,  and  was  known 
to  be  the  largest  and  finest  of  his  species  in  the 
world.  I  read  all  this  with  interest,  because  out  of 
my  school-boy  readings  I  dimly  remembered  how  the 
priests  and  pilgrims  of  St.  Bernard  used  to  go  out 
in  the  storms  and  dig  these  dogs  out  of  the  snow- 
drifts when  lost  and  exhausted,  and  give  them 
brandy  and  save  their  lives,  and  drag  them  to  the 
monastery  and  restore  them  with  gruel. 

Also,  there  was  a  picture  of  this  prize-dog  in  the 
paper,  a  noble  great  creature  with  a  benignant 
countenance,  standing  by  a  table.  He  was  placed 
in  that  way  so  that  one  could  get  a  right  idea  of  his 

90 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

great  dimensions.  You  could  see  that  he  was  just  a 
shade  higher  than  the  table — indeed,  a  huge  fellow 
for  a  dog.  Then  there  was  a  description  which  went 
into  the  details.  It  gave  his  enormous  weight — 
150/^  pounds,  and  his  length — 4  feet  2  inches, 
from  stem  to  stem-post;  and  his  height — 3  feet  i 
inch,  to  the  top  of  his  back.  The  pictures  and  the 
figures  so  impressed  me,  that  I  could  see  the  beauti- 
ful colossus  before  me,  and  I  kept  on  thinking  about 
him  for  the  next  two  hours;  then  I  reached  New 
York,  and  he  dropped  out  of  my  mind. 

In  the  swirl  and  tumult  of  the  hotel  lobby  I  ran 
across  Mr.  Daly's  comedian,  the  late  James  Lewis, 
of  beloved  memory,  and  I  casually  mentioned  that  I 
was  going  to  call  upon  Mr.  Daly  in  the  evening  at 
eight.  He  looked  surprised,  and  said  he  reckoned 
not.  For  answer  I  handed  him  Mr.  Daly's  note. 
Its  substance  was:  "Come  to  my  private  den,  over 
the  theater,  where  we  cannot  be  interrupted.  And 
come  by  the  back  way,  not  the  front.  No.  642 
Sixth  Avenue  is  a  cigar  shop;  pass  through  it  and 
you  are  in  a  paved  court,  with  high  buildings  all 
around;  enter  the  second  door  on  the  left,  and  come 
up-stairs." 

"Is  this  all?" 

"Yes,"  I  said. 

"Well,  you'll  never  get  in." 

"Why?" 

"Because  you  won't.  Or  if  you  do  you  can 
draw  on  me  for  a  hundred  dollars;  for  you  will  be 
the  first  man  that  has  accomplished  it  in  twenty-five 
years.     I  can't  think  what  Mr.  Daly  can  have  been 

91 


MARK     TWAIN 

absorbed  in.  He  has  forgotten  a  most  important 
detail,  and  he  will  feel  humiliated  in  the  morning 
when  he  finds  that  you  tried  to  get  in  and  couldn't." 

'^Wliy,  what  is  the  trouble?" 

'Til  tell  you.    You  see— " 

At  that  point  we  were  swept  apart  by  the  crowd, 
somebody  detained  me  with  a  moment's  talk,  and 
we  did  not  get  together  again.  But  it  did  not 
matter;    I  believed  he  was  joking,  anyway. 

At  eight  in  the  evening  I  passed  through  the  cigar 
shop  and  into  the  court  and  knocked  at  the  second 
door. 

"Come  in!" 

I  entered.  It  was  a  small  room,  carpetless,  dusty, 
with  a  naked  deal  table,  and  two  cheap  wooden 
chairs  for  furniture.  A  giant  Irishman  was  standing 
there,  with  shirt-collar  and  vest  unbuttoned,  and  no 
coat  on.  I  put  my  hat  on  the  table,  and  was  about 
to  say  something,  when  the  Irishman  took  the  inn- 
ings himself.     And  not  with  marked  courtesy  of  tone : 

''Well,  sor,  what  will  you  have?" 

I  was  a  little  disconcerted,  and  my  easy  confidence 
suffered  a  shrinkage.  The  man  stood  as  motionless 
as  Gibraltar,  and  kept  his  unblinking  eye  upon  me. 
It  was  very  embarrassing,  ver}^  humiliating.  I  stam- 
mered at  a  false  start  or  two;   then: 

"I  have  just  run  down  from — " 

"Av  ye  plaze,  ye'll  not  smoke  here,  ye  under- 
stand." 

I  laid  my  cigar  on  the  window-ledge;  chased  m.3^ 
flighty  thoughts  a  moment,  then  said  in  a  placating 
manner : 

92 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 


tf 


1 — I  have  come  to  see  Mr.  Daly." 

*'0h,  ye  have,  have  ye?" 

*'Yes." 

"Well,  ye'll  not  see  him." 

"But  he  asked  me  to  come." 

"Oh,  he  did,  did  he?" 

"Yes,  he  sent  me  this  note,  and — " 

"Lemme  see  it." 

For  a  moment  I  fancied  there  would  be  a  change 
in  the  atmosphere,  now;  but  this  idea  was  prema- 
ture. The  big  man  was  examining  the  note  search- 
ingly  under  the  gas-jet.  A  glance  showed  me  that 
he  had  it  upside  down — disheartening  evidence  that 
he  could  not  read. 

"Is  ut  his  own  hand- write?" 

"Yes — ^he  wrote  it  himself." 

"He  did,  did  he?" 

"Yes." 

"H'm.    Well,  then,  why  'u'd  he  write  it  like  that?" 

*  *  How  do  you  mean  ?" 

"I  mane,  why  w'u'dn't  he  put  his  name  to  ut?" 

' '  His  name  is  to  it.  Thafs  not  it — you  are  looking 
at  my  name." 

I  thought  that  that  was  a  home  shot,  but  he  did 
not  betray  that  he  had  been  hit.     He  said: 

"It's  not  an  aisy  one  to  spell;  how  do  you  pro- 
nounce ut?" 

"Mark  Twain." 

"H'm.  H'm.  Mike  Train.  H'm.  I  don't  re- 
member ut.    What  is  it  ye  want  to  see  him  about?" 

"It  isn't  I  that  want  to  see  him,  he  wants  to  see 
mer 

93 


MARK    TWAIN 

"Oh,  he  does,  does  he?" 
"Yes." 

"What  does  he  want  to  see  ye  about?" 

"I  don't  know." 

"Ye  don't  know!  And  ye  confess  it,  becod! 
Well,  I  can  tell  ye  wan  thing — ye'll  not  see  him. 
Are  ye  in  the  business?" 

"What  business?" 

"The  show  business." 

A  fatal  question.  I  recognized  that  I  was  defeated. 
If  I  answered  no,  he  would  cut  the  matter  short 
and  wave  me  to  the  door  without  the  grace  of  a 
word — I  saw  it  in"  his  uncompromising  eye;  if  I 
said  I  was  a  lecturer,  he  would  despise  me,  and 
dismiss  me  with  opprobrious  words;  if  I  said  I  was 
a  dramatist,  he  would  throw  me  out  of  the  window. 
I  saw  that  my  case  was  hopeless,  so  I  chose  the 
course  which  seemed  least  humiliating:  I  would 
pocket  my  shame  and  glide  out  without  answering. 
The  silence  was  growing  lengthy. 

"I'll  ask  ye  again.  Are  ye  in  the  show  business 
yerself?" 

"Yes!" 

I  said  it  with  splendid  confidence;  for  in  that 
moment  the  very  twin  of  that  grand  New  Haven 
dog  loafed  into  the  room,  and  I  saw  that  Irishman's 
eye  light  eloquently  with  pride  and  affection. 

"Ye  are?    And  what  is  it?" 

"I've  got  a  bench-show  in  New  Haven." 

The  weather  did  change  then. 

"You  don't  say,  sir!  And  that's  your  show,  sir! 
Oh,  it's  a  grand  show,  it's  a  wonderful  show,  sir, 

94 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  a  proud  man  I  am  to  see  your  honor  this  day. 
And  yell  be  an  expert,  sir,  and  ye'l!  know  all  about 
dogs — more  than  ever  they  know  theirselves,  I'll 
take  me  oath  to  ut." 

I  said,  with  modesty : 

'*I  believe  I  have  some  reputation  that  way.  In 
fact,  my  business  requires  it." 

"Ye  have  some  reputation,  your  honor!  Bedad 
I  believe  you!  There's  not  a  jintleman  in  the 
worrld  that  can  lay  over  ye  in  the  judgmint  of  a 
dog,  sir.  Now  I'll  vinture  that  your  honor  '11  know 
that  dog's  dimensions  there  better  than  he  knows 
them  his  own  self,  and  just  by  the  casting  of  your 
educated  eye  upon  him.  Would  you  mind  giving  a 
guess,  if  ye'll  be  so  good?" 

I  knew  that  upon  my  answer  would  depend  my 
fate.  If  I  made  this  dog  bigger  than  the  prize-dog, 
it  would  be  bad  diplomacy,  and  suspicious;  if  I  fell 
too  far  short  of  the  prize-dog,  that  would  be  equally 
damaging.  The  dog  was  standing  by  the  table,  and 
I  believed  I  knew  the  difference  between  him  and 
the  one  whose  picture  I  had  seen  in  the  newspaper 
to  a  shade.    I  spoke  promptly  up  and  said : 

"It's  no  trouble  to  guess  this  noble  creature's 
figures:  height,  three  feet;  length,  four  feet  and 
three-quarters  of  an  inch;  weight,  a  hundred  and 
forty-eight  and  a  quarter." 

The  man  snatched  his  hat  from  its  peg  and  danced 
on  it  with  joy,  shouting: 

"Ye've  hardly  missed  it  the  hair's-breadth,  hardly 
the  shade  of  a  shade,  your  honor!  Oh,  it's  the 
miraculous  eye  ye've  got,  for  the  judgmint  of  a  dog!" 

95 


MARK     TWAIN 

And  still  pouring  out  his  admiration  of  my  capaci- 
ties, he  snatched  off  his  vest  and  scoured  off  one 
of  the  wooden  chairs  with  it,  and  scrubbed  it  and 
polished  it,  and  said : 

"There,  sit  down,  your  honor,  I'm  ashamed  of 
meself  that  I  forgot  ye  were  standing  all  this  time; 
and  do  put  on  your  hat,  ye  mustn't  take  cold,  it's  a 
draughty  place;  and  here  is  your  cigar,  sir,  a-getting 
cold,  I'll  give  ye  a  light.  There.  The  place  is  all 
yours,  sir,  and  if  ye '11  just  put  your  feet  on  the 
table  and  make  yourself  at  home,  I'll  stir  around 
and  get  a  candle  and  light  ye  up  the  ould  crazy 
stairs  and  see  that  ye  don't  come  to  anny  harm,  for 
be  this  time  Mr.  Daly  '11  be  that  impatient  to  see 
your  honor  that  he'll  be  taking  the  roof  off." 

He  conducted  me  cautiously  and  tenderly  up  the 
stairs,  lighting  the  way  and  protecting  me  with 
friendly  warnings,  then  pushed  the  door  open  and 
bowed  me  in  and  went  his  way,  mumbling  hearty 
things  about  my  wonderful  eye  for  points  of  a  dog. 
Mr.  Daly  was  writing  and  had  his  back  to  me.  He 
glanced  over  his  shoulder  presently,  then  jumped 
up  and  said: 

"Oh,  dear  me,  I  forgot  all  about  giving  instruc- 
tions. I  was  just  writing  you  to  beg  a  thousand 
pardons.  But  how  is  it  you  are  here?  How  did 
you  get  by  that  Irishman?  You  are  the  first  man 
that's  done  it  in  five  and  twenty  years.  You  didn't 
bribe  him,  I  know  that;  there's  not  money  enough 
in  New  York  to  do  it.  And  you  didn't  persuade 
him;  he  is  all  ice  and  iron:  there  isn't  a  soft  place 
nor  a  warm  one  in  him  an}^ where.     What  is  your 

96 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

secret?  Look  here;  you  owe  me  a  hundred  dollars 
for  unintentionally  giving  you  a  chance  to  perform 
a  miracle — for  it  is  a  miracle  that  you've  done." 

"That  is  all  right,"  I  said,  ''collect  it  of  Jimmy 
Lewis." 

That  good  dog  not  only  did  me  that  good  turn  in 
the  time  of  my  need,  but  he  won  for  me  the  envious 
reputation  among  all  the  theatrical  people  from  the 
Atlantic  to  the  Pacific  of  being  the  only  man  in 
history  who  had  ever  run  the  blockade  of  Augustin 
Daly's  back  door. 
II.— 7 


CHAPTER  X 

MURDERS   BY  WHOLESALE 

If  the  desire  to  kill  and  the  opportunity  to  kill  came  always  together,  who  would 
escape  hanging? — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

ON  the  Train.  Fifty  years  ago,  when  I  was  a 
boy  in  the  then  remote  and  sparsely  peopled 
Mississippi  valley,  vague  tales  and  rumors  of  a 
mysterious  body  of  professional  murderers  came 
wandering  in  from  a  country  which  was  construc- 
tively as  far  from  us  as  the  constellations  blinking  in 
space — India;  vague  tales  and  rumors  of  a  sect 
called  Thugs,  who  waylaid  travelers  in  lonely  places 
and  killed  them  for  the  contentment  of  a  god  whom 
they  worshiped;  tales  which  everybody  liked  to 
hsten  to  and  nobody  believed — except  with  reserva- 
tions. It  was  considered  that  the  stories  had  gath- 
ered bulk  on  their  travels.  The  matter  died  down 
and  a  lull  followed.  Then  Eugene  Sue's  Wandering 
Jew  appeared,  and  made  great  talk  for  a  while. 
One  character  in  it  was  a  chief  of  Thugs — Ferin- 
ghea — a  mysterious  and  terrible  Indian  who  was 
as  slippery  and  sly  as  a  serpent,  and  as  deadly;  and 
he  stirred  up  the  Thug  interest  once  more.  But  it 
did  not  last.  It  presently  died  again — this  time  to 
stay  dead. 

At  first  glance  it  seems  strange  that  this  should 
have  happened;  but  really  it  was  not  strange — on 
the  contrary,  it  was  natural;   I  mean  on  our  side  of 

98 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

the  water.  For  the  source  whence  the  Thug  tales 
mainly  came  was  a  Government  Report,  and  without 
doubt  was  not  republished  in  America;  it  was  prob- 
ably never  even  seen  there.  Government  Reports 
have  no  general  circulation.  They  are  distributed 
to  the  few,  and  are  not  always  read  by  those  few. 
I  heard  of  this  Report  for  the  first  time  a  day  or  two 
ago,  and  borrowed  it.  It  is  full  of  fascinations; 
and  it  turns  those  dim,  dark  fairy  tales  of  my  boy- 
hood days  into  realities. 

The  Report  was  made  in  1839  by  Major  Sleeman, 
of  the  Indian  Service,  and  was  printed  in  Calcutta  in 
1840.  It  is  a  clumsy,  great,  fat,  poor  sample  of 
the  printer's  art,  but  good  enough  for  a  government 
printing-office  in  that  old  day  and  in  that  remote 
region,  perhaps.  To  Major  Sleeman  was  given  the 
general  superintendence  of  the  giant  task  of  ridding 
India  of  Thuggee,  and  he  and  his  seventeen  assist- 
ants accomphshed  it.  It  was  the  Augean  Stables 
over  again.  Captain  Vallancey,  writing  in  a  Madras 
journal  in  those  old  times,  makes  this  remark: 

The  day  that  sees  this  far-spread  evil  eradicated  from  India 
and  known  only  in  name,  will  greatly  tend  to  immortalize 
British  rule  in  the  East. 

He  did  not  overestimate  the  magnitude  and  diffi- 
culty of  the  work,  nor  the  immensity  of  the  credit 
which  would  justly  be  due  to  British  rule  in  case  it 
was  accomplished. 

Thuggee  became  known  to  the  British  authorities 
in  India  about  18 10,  but  its  wide  prevalence  was  not 
suspected;  it  was  not  regarded  as  a  serious  matter, 
and  no  systematic  measures  were  taken  for  its  sup- 

99 


MARK     TWAIN 

pression  until  about  1830.  About  that  time  Major 
Sleeman  captured  Eugene  Sue's  Thug-chief,  Fer- 
inghea,  and  got  him  to  turn  King's  evidence.  The 
revelations  were  so  stupefying  that  Sleeman  was  not 
able  to  believe  them.  Sleeman  thought  he  knew 
every  criminal  within  his  jurisdiction,  and  that  the 
worst  of  them  were  merely  thieves;  but  Feringhea 
told  him  that  he  was  in  reality  living  in  the  midst  of 
a  swarm  of  professional  murderers;  that  they  had 
been  all  about  him  for  many  years,  and  that  they 
buried  their  dead  close  by.  These  seemed  insane 
tales;  but  Feringhea  said  come  and  see — and  he 
took  him  to  a  grave  and  dug  up  a  hundred  bodies, 
and  told  him  all  the  circumstances  of  the  killings, 
and  named  the  Thugs  who  had  done  the  work.  It 
was  a  staggering  business.  Sleeman  captured  some 
of  these  Thugs  and  proceeded  to  examine  them 
separately,  and  with  proper  precautions  against 
collusion;  for  he  would  not  believe  any  Indian's 
unsupported  word.  The  evidence  gathered  proved 
the  truth  of  what  Feringhea  had  said,  and  also 
revealed  the  fact  that  gangs  of  Thugs  were  plying 
their  trade  all  over  India.  The  astonished  govern- 
ment now  took  hold  of  Thuggee,  and  for  ten  years 
made  systematic  and  relentless  war  upon  it,  and 
finally  destroyed  it.  Gang  after  gang  was  captured, 
tried,  and  punished.  The  Thugs  were  harried  and 
hunted  from  one  end  of  India  to  the  other.  The 
government  got  all  their  secrets  out  of  them;  and 
also  got  the  names  of  the  members  of  the  bands,  and 
recorded  them  in  a  book,  together  with  their  birth- 
places and  places  of  residence. 

100 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

The  Thugs  were  worshipers  of  Bhowanee;  and  to 
this  god  they  sacrificed  anybody  that  came  handy; 
but  they  kept  the  dead  man's  things  themselves,  for 
the  god  cared  for  nothing  but  the  corpse.  Men 
were  initiated  into  the  sect  with  solemn  ceremonies. 
Then  they  were  taught  how  to  strangle  a  person  with 
the  sacred  choke-cloth,  but  were  not  allowed  to 
perform  officially  with  it  until  after  long  practice. 
No  half-educated  strangler  could  choke  a  man  to 
death  quickly  enough  to  keep  him  from  uttering  a 
sound — a  muffled  scream,  gurgle,  gasp,  moan,  or 
something  of  the  sort;  but  the  expert's  work  was 
instantaneous:  the  cloth  was  whipped  around  the 
victim's  neck,  there  was  a  sudden  twist,  and  the 
head  fell  silently  forward,  the  eyes  starting  from  the 
sockets;  and  all  was  over.  The  Thug  carefully 
guarded  against  resistance.  It  was  usual  to  get  the 
victims  to  sit  down,  for  that  was  the  handiest  position 
for  business. 

If  the  Thug  had  planned  India  itself  it  could  not 
have  been  more  conveniently  arranged  for  the  needs 
of  his  occupation.  There  were  no  public  convey- 
ances. There  were  no  conveyances  for  hire.  The 
traveler  went  on  foot  or  in  a  bullock-cart  or  on  a 
horse  which  he  bought  for  the  purpose.  As  soon 
as  he  was  out  of  his  owti  little  state  or  principality 
he  was  among  strangers ;  nobody  knew  him,  nobody 
took  note  of  him,  and  from  that  time  his  movements 
could  no  longer  be  traced.  He  did  not  stop  in  towns 
or  villages,  but  camped  outside  of  them  and  sent 
his  servants  in  to  buy  provisions.  There  were  no 
habitations  between  villages.     Whenever  he  was  be- 


MARK     TWAIN 

tween  villages  he  was  an  easy  prey,  particularly  as 
he  usually  traveled  by  night,  to  avoid  the  heat.  He 
was  always  being  overtaken  by  strangers  who  offered 
him  the  protection  of  their  company,  or  asked  for 
the  protection  of  his — and  these  strangers  were  often 
Thugs,  as  he  presently  found  out  to  his  cost.  The 
landholders,  the  native  poHce,  the  petty  princes, 
the  village  officials,  the  customs  officers  were  in 
many  cases  protectors  and  harborers  of  the  Thugs, 
and  betrayed  travelers  to  them  for  a  share  of  the 
spoil.  At  first  this  condition  of  things  made  it  next 
to  impossible  for  the  government  to  catch  the 
marauders ;  they  were  spirited  away  by  these  watch- 
ful friends.  All  through  a  vast  continent,  thus 
infested,  helpless  people  of  every  caste  and  kind 
moved  along  the  paths  and  trails  in  couples  and 
groups  silently  by  night,  carrying  the  commerce  of 
the  country — treasure,  jewels,  money,  and  petty 
batches  of  silks,  spices,  and  all  manner  of  wares.  It 
was  a  paradise  for  the  Thug. 

When  the  autumn  opened,  the  Thugs  began  to 
gather  together  by  pre-concert.  Other  people  had 
to  have  interpreters  at  every  turn,  but  not  the 
Thugs;  they  could  talk  together,  no  matter  how  far 
apart  they  were  bom,  for  they  had  a  language  of 
their  own,  and  they  had  secret  signs  by  which  they 
knew  each  other  for  Thugs;  and  they  were  always 
friends.  Even  their  diversities  of  religion  and  caste 
were  sunk  in  devotion  to  their  calling,  and  the  Mos- 
lem and  the  high-caste  and  low-caste  Hindu  were 
stanch  and  affectionate  brothers  in  Thuggery. 

When  a  gang  had  been  assembled,  they  had  relig- 

I02 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

ious  worship,  and  waited  for  an  omen.  They  had 
definite  notions  about  the  omens.  The  cries  of 
certain  animals  were  good  omens,  the  cries  of  certain 
other  creatures  were  bad  omens.  A  bad  omen  would 
stop  proceedings  and  send  the  men  home. 

The  sword  and  the  strangling-cloth  were  sacred 
emblems.  The  Thugs  worshiped  the  sword  at  home 
before  going  out  to  the  assembling-place ;  the  stran- 
gling-cloth was  worshiped  at  the  place  of  assembly. 
The  chiefs  of  most  of  the  bands  performed  the 
religious  ceremonies  themselves ;  but  the  Kaeis  dele- 
gated them  to  certain  official  stranglers  (Chaurs). 
The  rites  of  the  Kaets  were  so  holy  that  no  one  but 
the  Chaur  was  allowed  to  touch  the  vessels  and 
other  things  used  in  them. 

Thug  methods  exhibited  a  curious  mixture  of 
caution  and  the  absence  of  it ;  cold  business  calcula- 
tion and  sudden,  unreflecting  impulse;  but  there 
were  two  details  which  were  constant,  and  not  sub- 
ject to  caprice:  patient  persistence  in  following  up 
the  prey,  and  pitilessness  when  the  time  came  to  act. 

Caution  was  exhibited  in  the  strength  of  the  bands. 
They  never  felt  comfortable  and  confident  unless 
their  strength  exceeded  that  of  any  party  of  travelers 
they  were  likely  to  meet  by  four  or  five  fold.  Yet 
it  was  never  their  purpose  to  attack  openly,  but  only 
when  the  victims  were  off  their  guard.  When  they 
got  hold  of  a  party  of  travelers  they  often  moved 
along  in  their  company  several  days,  using  all  manner 
of  arts  to  win  their  friendship  and  get  their  confi- 
dence. At  last,  when  this  was  accomplished  to  their 
satisfaction,  the  real  business  began.    A  few  Thugs 

103 


MARK     TWAIN 

were  privately  detached  and  sent  forward  in  the 
dark  to  select  a  good  killing-place  and  dig  the  graves. 
When  the  rest  reached  the  spot  a  halt  was  called,  for 
a  rest  or  a  smoke.  The  travelers  were  invited  to 
sit.  By  signs,  the  chief  appointed  certain  Thugs  to 
sit  down  in  front  of  the  travelers  as  if  to  wait  upon 
them,  others  to  sit  dowTi  beside  them  and  engage 
them  in  conversation,  and  certain  expert  stranglers 
to  stand  behind  the  travelers  and  be  ready  when  the 
signal  was  given.  The  signal  was  usually  some 
commonplace  remark,  like  "Bring  the  tobacco." 
Sometimes  a  considerable  wait  ensued  after  all  the 
actors  were  in  their  places — the  chief  was  biding  his 
time,  in  order  to  make  everything  sure.  Meantime, 
the  talk  droned  on,  dim  figures  moved  about  in  the 
dull  Hght,  peace  and  tranquillity  reigned,  the  trav- 
elers resigned  themselves  to  the  pleasant  reposeful- 
ness  and  comfort  of  the  situation,  unconscious  of  the 
death-angels  standing  motionless  at  their  backs.  The 
time  was  ripe,  now,  and  the  signal  came:  "Bring 
the  tobacco."  There  was  a  mute  swift  movement, 
all  in  the  same  instant  the  men  at  each  victim's  sides 
seized  his  hands,  the  man  in  front  seized  his  feet, 
and  pulled,  the  man  at  his  back  whipped  the  cloth 
around  his  neck  and  gave  it  a  twist — the  head  simk 
forward,  the  tragedy  w^as  over.  The  bodies  were 
stripped  and  covered  up  in  the  graves,  the  spoil 
packed  for  transportation,  then  the  Thugs  gave 
pious  thanks  to  Bhowanee,  and  departed  on  further 
holy  service. 

The  Report  shows  that  the  travelers  moved  in 
exceedingly  small  groups — twos,  threes,  fours,  as  a 

104 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

rule;  a  party  with  a  dozen  in  it  was  rare.  The 
Thugs  themselves  seem  to  have  been  the  only  people 
who  moved  in  force.  They  went  about  in  gangs  of 
lo,  15,  25,  40,  60,  100,  150,  200,  250,  and  one  gang 
of  310  is  mentioned.  Considering  their  numbers, 
their  catch  was  not  extraordinary — particularly 
when  you  consider  that  they  were  not  in  the  least 
fastidious,  but  took  anybody  they  could  get,  whether 
rich  or  poor,  and  sometimes  even  killed  children. 
Now  and  then  they  killed  women,  but  it  was  con- 
sidered sinful  to  do  it,  and  unlucky.  The  "season" 
was  six  or  eight  months  long.  One  season  the 
half-dozen  Bundelkand  and  Gwalior  gangs  aggre- 
gated 712  men,  and  they  murdered  210  people. 
One  season  the  Malwa  and  Kandeish  gangs  aggre- 
gated 702  men,  and  they  murdered  232.  One  season 
the  Kandeish  and  Berar  gangs  aggregated  963  men, 
and  they  murdered  385  people. 

Here  is  the  tally-sheet  of  a  gang  of  sixty  Thugs 
for  a  whole  season — gang  under  two  noted  chiefs, 
"Chotee  and  Sheik  Nungoo  from  Gwalior": 

Left  Poora,  in  Jhansee,  and  on  arrival  at  Sarora  murdered  a 
traveler. 

On  nearly  reaching  Bhopal,  met  3  Brahmans,  and  murdered 
them. 

Cross  the  Nerbudda;  at  a  village  called  Hutteea,  murdered  a 
Hindu. 

Went  through  Aurungabad  to  Walagow ;  there  met  a  Havildar 
of  the  barber  caste  and  5  sepoys  (native  soldiers) ;  in  the  evening 
came  to  Jokur,  and  in  the  morning  killed  them  near  the  place 
where  the  treasure -bearers  were  killed  the  year  before. 

Between  Jokur  and  Dholeea  met  a  sepoy  of  the  shepherd 
caste;   killed  him  in  the  jungle. 

Passed  through  Dholeea  and  lodged  in  a  village;    two  miles 


MARK     TWAIN 

beyond,  on  the  road  to  Indore,  met  a  Byragee  (beggar— holy 
mendicant);   murdered  him  at  the  Thapa. 

In  the  morning,  beyond  the  Thapa,  fell  in  with  3  Marwarie 
travelers;  murdered  them. 

Near  a  village  on  the  banks  of  the  Taptee  met  4  travelers  and 
killed  them. 

Between  Choupra  and  Dhoreea  met  a  Marwarie;  murdered 
him. 

At  Dhoreea  met  3  Marwaries;  took  them  two  miles  and 
murdered  them. 

Two  miles  further  on,  overtaken  by  3  treasure-bearers;  took 
them  two  miles  and  murdered  them  in  the  jungle. 

Came  on  to  Khurgore  Bateesa  in  Indore,  divided  spoil,  and 
dispersed. 

A  total  of  27  men  murdered  on  one  expedition. 

Chotee  (to  save  his  neck)  was  informer,  and  fur- 
nished these  facts.  Several  things  are  noticeable 
about  his  resume,  i,  Business  brevity;  2,  absence 
of  emotion;  3,  smallness  of  the  parties  encountered 
by  the  sixty;  4,  variety  in  character  and  quality  of 
the  game  captured;  5,  Hindu  and  Mohammedan 
chiefs  in  business  together  for  Bhowanee;  6,  the 
sacred  caste  of  the  Brahmans  not  respected  by  either; 
7,  nor  yet  the  character  of  that  mendicant,  that 
Byragee. 

A  beggar  is  a  holy  creature,  and  some  of  the 
gangs  spared  him  on  that  accoimt,  no  matter  how 
slack  business  might  be ;  but  other  gangs  slaughtered 
not  only  him,  but  even  that  sacredest  of  sacred 
creatures,  the  fakir  —  that  repulsive  skin-and-bone 
thing  that  goes  around  naked  and  mats  his  bushy 
hair  with  dust  and  dirt,  and  so  befiours  his  lean  body 
with  ashes  that  he  looks  like  a  specter.  Sometimes 
a  fakir  trusted  a  shade  too  far  in  the  protection  of 

106 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

his  sacredness.  In  the  middle  of  a  tally-sheet  of 
Feringhea's,  who  had  been  out  with  forty  Thugs, 
I  find  a  case  of  the  kind.  After  the  killing  of  thirty- 
nine  men  and  one  woman,  the  fakir  appears  on 
the  scene : 

Approaching  Doregow,  met  3  pundits;  also  a  fakir,  mounted 
on  a  pony;  he  was  plastered  over  with  sugar  to  collect  flies, 
and  was  covered  with  them.  Drove  off  the  fakir,  and  killed 
the  other  three. 

Leaving  Doregow,  the  fakir  joined  again,  and  went  on  in 
company  to  Rao j ana;  met  6  Khutries  on  their  way  from  Bombay 
to  Nagpore.  Drove  off  the  fakir  with  stones,  and  killed  the 
6  men  in  camp,  and  buried  them  in  the  grove, 

Next  day  the  fakir  joined  again;  made  him  leave  at  Mana. 
Beyond  there  fell  in  with  2  Kahars  and  a  sepoy,  and  came  on 
toward  the  place  selected  for  the  murder.  When  near  it,  the 
fakir  came  again.  Losing  all  patience  with  him,  gave  Mithoo, 
one  of  the  gang,  5  rupees  ($2.50)  to  murder  him,  and  take  the 
sin  upon  himself.  All  four  were  strangled,  including  the  fakir. 
Surprised  to  find  among  the  fakir's  effects  30  pounds  of  coral, 
350  strings  of  small  pearls,  15  strings  of  large  pearls,  and  a  gilt 
necklace. 

It  is  curious,  the  little  effect  that  time  has  upon  a 
really  interesting  circumstance.  This  one,  so  old, 
so  long  ago  gone  down  into  oblivion,  reads  with  the 
same  freshness  and  charm  that  attach  to  the  news  in 
the  morning  paper;  one's  spirits  go  up,  then  down, 
then  up  again,  following  the  chances  which  the 
fakir  is  running;  now  you  hope,  now  you  despair, 
now  you  hope  again;  and  at  last  everything  comes 
out  right,  and  you  feel  a  great  wave  of  personal 
satisfaction  go  weltering  through  you,  and,  without 
thinking,  you  put  out  your  hand  to  pat  Mithoo  on 
the  back,  when — puff!  the  whole  thing  has  vanished 

107 


MARK     TWAIN 

away,  there  is  nothing  there;  Mithoo  and  all  the 
crowd  have  been  dust  and  ashes  and  forgotten,  oh, 
so  many,  many,  7nany  lagging  years !  And  then  comes 
a  sense  of  injury:  you  don't  know  whether  Mithoo 
got  the  swag,  along  with  the  sin,  or  had  to  divide 
up  the  swag  and  keep  all  the  sin  himself.  There  is 
no  Hterary  art  about  a  government  report.  It  stops 
a  story  right  in  the  most  interesting  place. 

These  reports  of  Thug  expeditions  run  along 
interminably  in  one  monotonous  tune:  "Met  a 
sepoy — killed  him;  met  five  pundits — killed  them; 
met  four  Rajputs  and  a  woman  —  killed  them" — 
and  so  on,  till  the  statistics  get  to  be  pretty  dry.  But 
this  small  trip  of  Feringhea's  Forty  had  some  little 
variety  about  it.  Once  they  came  across  a  man 
hiding  in  a  grave — a  thief;  he  had  stolen  eleven  hun- 
dred rupees  from  Dhunroj  Seith  of  Parowtee.  They 
strangled  him  and  took  the  money.  They  had  no 
patience  with  thieves.  They  killed  two  treasure- 
bearers,  and  got  four  thousand  rupees.  They  came 
across  two  bullocks  "laden  with  copper  pice,"  and 
killed  the  four  drivers  and  took  the  money.  There 
must  have  been  half  a  ton  of  it.  I  think  it  takes  a 
double  handful  of  pice  to  make  an  anna,  and  sixteen 
annas  to  make  a  rupee;  and  even  in  those  days  the 
rupee  was  worth  only  half  a  dollar.  Coming  back 
over  their  tracks  from  Baroda,  they  had  another 
picturesque  stroke  of  luck:  "The  Lobars  of  Oodey- 
pore"  put  a  traveler  in  their  charge  "for  safety." 
Dear,  dear,  across  this  abysmal  gulf  of  time  we  still 
see  Feringhea's  lips  uncover  his  teeth,  and  through 
the  dim  haze  we  catch  the  incandescent  glimmer  of 

io8 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

his  smile.  He  accepted  that  trust,  good  man;  and 
so  we  know  what  went  with  the  traveler. 

Even  Rajas  had  no  terrors  for  Feringhea;  he 
came  across  an  elephant-driver  belonging  to  the 
Raja  of  Oodeypore  and  promptly  strangled  him. 

"A  total  of  one  hundred  men  and  five  women 
murdered  on  this  expedition." 

Among  the  reports  of  expeditions  we  find  mention 
of  victims  of  almost  every  quality  and  estate: 


Native  soldiers 

Fakirs 

Mendicants 

Holy-water  carriers 

Carpenters 

Peddlers 

Tailors 

Blacksmiths 

Policemen  (native) 

Pastry  cooks 

Grooms 

Mecca  pilgrims 


Chuprassies 
Treasure-bearers 
Children 
Cowherds 
Gardeners 
Shopkeepers 
Palanquin-bearers 
Farmers 
Bullock-drivers 
Male  servants  seek- 
ing work 


Women  servants  seek- 
ing work 
Shepherds 
Archers 
Table-waiters 
Weavers 
Priests 
Bankers 
Boatmen 
Merchants 
Grass-cutters 


Also  a  prince's  cook;  and  even  the  water-carrier 
of  that  sublime  lord  of  lords  and  king  of  kings,  the 
Governor-General  of  India!  How  broad  they  were 
in  their  tastes!  They  also  murdered  actors — poor 
wandering  bam-stormers.  There  are  two  instances 
recorded;  the  first  one  by  a  gang  of  Thugs  under  a 
chief  who  soils  a  great  name  borne  by  a  better  man — 
Kipling's  deathless  Gungadin : 

After  murdering  four  sepoys,  going  on  toward  Indore,  met  four 
strolling  players,  and  persuaded  them  to  come  with  us,  on  the 
pretense  that  we  would  see  their  performance  at  the  next  stage. 
Murdered  them  at  a  temple  near  Bhopal. 

109 


MARK     TWAIN 

Second  instance : 

At  Deohuttee,  joined  by  comedians.  Murdered  them  east- 
ward of  that  place. 

But  this  gang  was  a  particularly  bad  crew.  On 
that  expedition  they  murdered  a  fakir  and  twelve 
beggars.  And  yet  Bhowanee  protected  them;  for 
once  when  they  were  strangling  a  man  in  a  wood 
when  a  crowd  was  going  by  close  at  hand  and  the 
noose  slipped  and  the  man  screamed,  Bhowanee 
made  a  camel  burst  out  at  the  same  moment  with  a 
roar  that  drowned  the  scream;  and  before  the  man 
could  repeat  it  the  breath  was  choked  out  of  his  body. 

The  cow  is  so  sacred  in  India  that  to  kiU  her 
keeper  is  an  awful  sacrilege,  and  even  the  Thugs 
recognized  this ;  yet  now  and  then  the  lust  for  blood 
was  too  strong,  and  so  they  did  kill  a  few  cow- 
keepers.  In  one  of  these  instances  the  witness  who 
killed  the  cowherd  said,  '*In  Thuggee  this  is  strictly 
forbidden,  and  is  an  act  from  which  no  good  can 
come.  I  was  ill  of  a  fever  for  ten  days  afterward. 
I  do  believe  that  evil  will  follow  the  murder  of  a 
man  with  a  cow.  If  there  be  no  cow  it  does  not 
signify."  Another  Thug  said  he  held  the  cowherd's 
feet  while  this  witness  did  the  strangling.  He  felt 
no  concern,  ''because  the  bad  fortime  of  such  a 
deed  is  upon  the  strangler  and  not  upon  the  assist- 
ants;   even  if  there  should  be  a  hundred  of  them." 

There  were  thousands  of  Thugs  ro\dng  over  India 
constantly,  during  many  generations.  They  made 
Thuggee  a  hereditary  vocation  and  taught  it  to  their 
sons  and  to  their  sons'   sons.     Boys  were  in  full 

no 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

membership  as  early  as  sixteen  years  of  age;  vet- 
erans were  still  at  work  at  seventy.  What  was  the 
fascination,  what  was  the  impulse?  Apparently,  it 
was  partly  piety,  largely  gain,  and  there  is  reason 
to  suspect  that  the  sport  afforded  was  the  chiefest 
fascination  of  all.  Meadows  Taylor  makes  a  Thug 
in  one  of  his  books  claim  that  the  pleasure  of  killing 
men  was  the  white  man's  beast-hunting  instinct  en- 
larged, refined,  ennobled.    I  will  quote  the  passage: 


CHAPTER  XI 

HUNTING   MEN   FOR   MERE   SPORT 

Simple  rules  for  saving  money:  To  save  half,  when  you  are  fired  by  an  eaper 
Impulse  to  contribute  to  a  charity,  wait,  and  co\mt  forty.  To  save  three-quarters, 
count  sixty.    To  save  it  all,  count  sixty-five. — Pudd'nhead  Wilstm's  New  Calendar. 

THE  Thug  said: 
How  many  of  you  English  are  passionately  devoted  to 
sporting!  Your  days  and  months  are  passed  in  its  excitement. 
A  tiger,  a  panther,  a  buffalo,  or  a  hog  rouses  your  utmost  energies 
for  its  destruction — you  even  risk  your  lives  in  its  pursuit. 
How  much  higher  game  is  a  Thug's! 

That  must  really  be  the  secret  of  the  rise  and 
development  of  Thuggee.  The  joy  of  killing!  the  joy 
of  seeing  killing  done — these  are  traits  of  the  human 
race  at  large.  We  white  people  are  merely  modified 
Thugs;  Thugs  fretting  under  the  restraints  of  a  not 
very  thick  skin  of  civilization;  Thugs  who  long  ago 
enjoyed  the  slaughter  of  the  Roman  arena,  and  later 
the  btiming  of  doubtful  Christians  by  authentic 
Christians  in  the  public  squares,  and  who  now,  with 
the  Thugs  of  Spain  and  Nimes,  flock  to  enjoy  the 
blood  and  misery  of  the  bull-ring.  We  have  no 
tourists  of  either  sex  or  any  religion  who  are  able  to 
resist  the  delights  of  the  bull-ring  when  opportunity 
offers;  and  we  are  gentle  Thugs  in  the  hunting  sea- 
son, and  love  to  chase  a  tame  rabbit  and  kill  it. 
Still,  we  have  made  some  progress — microscopic,  and 
in  truth  scarcely  worth  mentioning,  and  certainly 

112 


FOLLOWING    THE    EQUATOR 

nothing  to  be  proud  of — still,  it  is  progress:  we  no 
longer  take  pleasure  in  slaughtering  or  burning  help- 
less men.  We  have  reached  a  little  altitude  where 
we  may  look  down  upon  the  Indian  Thugs  with  a 
complacent  shudder;  and  we  may  even  hope  for  a 
day,  many  centuries  hence,  when  our  posterity  will 
look  down  upon  us  in  the  same  way. 

There  are  many  indications  that  the  Thug  often 
hunted  men  for  the  mere  sport  of  it ;  that  the  fright 
and  pain  of  the  quarry  were  no  more  to  him  than  are 
the  fright  and  pain  of  the  rabbit  or  the  stag  to  us; 
and  that  he  was  no  more  ashamed  of  beguiling  his 
game  with  deceits  and  abusing  its  trust  than  are  we 
when  we  have  imitated  a  wild  animal's  call  and  shot 
it  when  it  honored  us  with  its  confidence  and  came 
to  see  what  we  wanted: 

Madara,  son  of  Nihal,  and  I,  Ramzam,  set  out  from  Kotdee 
in  the  cold  weather,  and  followed  the  high  road  for  about  twenty 
days  in  search  of  travelers  until  we  came  to  Selempore,  where 
we  met  a  very  old  man  going  to  the  east.  We  won  his  confidence 
in  this  manner:  He  carried  a  load  which  was  too  heavy  for  his 
old  age;  I  said  to  him:  "You  are  an  old  man,  I  will  aid  you 
in  carrying  your  load,  as  you  are  from  my  part  of  the  country." 
He  said:  "Very  well,  take  me  with  you."  So  we  took  him  with 
us  to  Selempore,  where  we  slept  that  night.  We  woke  him 
next  morning  before  dawn  and  set  out,  and  at  the  distance  of 
three  miles  we  seated  him  to  rest  while  it  was  still  very  dark. 
Madara  was  ready  behind  him,  and  strangled  him.  He  never 
spoke  a  word.     He  was  about  sixty  or  seventy  years  of  age. 

Another  gang  fell  in  with  a  couple  of  barbers  and 
persuaded  them  to  come  along  in  their  company  by 
promising  them  the  job  of  shaving  the  whole  crew — 
thirty  Thugs.  At  the  place  appointed  for  the  murder 
fifteen  got  shaved,  and  actually  paid  the  barbers  for 
II.— 8  113 


MARK     TWAIN 

their  work.     Then  killed  them  and  took  back  the 
money. 

A  gang  of  forty-two  Thugs  came  across  two 
Brahmans  and  a  shopkeeper  on  the  road,  beguiled 
them  into  a  grove  and  got  up  a  concert  for  their 
entertainment.  While  these  poor  fellows  were  listen- 
ing to  the  music  the  stranglers  were  standing  behind 
them ;  and  at  the  proper  moment  for  dramatic  effect 
they  applied  the  noose. 

The  most  devoted  fisherman  must  have  a  bite  at 
least  as  often  as  once  a  week  or  his  passion  will  cool 
and  he  will  put  up  his  tackle.  The  tiger-sportsman 
must  find  a  tiger  at  least  once  a  fortnight  or  he  will 
get  tired  and  quit.  The  elephant -hunter's  enthusi- 
asm will  waste  away  little  by  little,  and  his  zeal  will 
perish  at  last  if  he  plod  around  a  month  without 
finding  a  member  of  that  noble  family  to  assassinate. 

But  when  the  lust  in  the  hunter's  heart  is  for  the 
noblest  of  all  quarries,  man,  how  different  is  the 
case!  and  how  watery  and  poor  is  the  zeal  and  how 
childish  the  endurance  of  those  other  hunters  by 
comparison.  Then,  neither  himger,  nor  thirst,  nor 
fatigue,  nor  deferred  hope,  nor  monotonous  disap- 
pointment, nor  leaden-footed  lapse  of  time  can  con- 
quer the  hunter's  patience  or  weaken  the  joy  of  his 
quest  or  cool  the  splendid  rage  of  his  desire.  Of 
all  the  hunting-passions  that  bum  in  the  breast  of 
man,  there  is  none  that  can  lift  him  superior  to  dis- 
couragements like  these  but  the  one — the  royal 
sport,  the  supreme  sport,  whose  quarry  is  his  brother. 
By  comparison,  tiger-hunting  is  a  colorless  poor 
thing,  for  all  it  has  been  so  bragged  about. 

114 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

Why,  the  Thug  was  content  to  tramp  patiently 
along,  afoot,  in  the  wasting  heat  of  India,  week 
after  week,  at  an  average  of  nine  or  ten  miles  a  day, 
if  he  might  but  hope  to  find  game  some  time  or 
other  and  refresh  his  longing  soul  with  blood.  Here 
is  an  instance : 

I  (Ramzam)  and  Hyder  set  out,  for  the  purpose  of  strangling 
travelers,  from  Guddapore,  and  proceeded  via  the  Fort  of 
Julalabad,  Newulgunge,  Bangermow,  on  the  banks  of  the  Ganges 
(upward  of  one  hundred  miles),  from  whence  we  returned  by 
another  route.  Still  no  travelers !  till  we  reached  Bowaneegunge, 
where  we  fell  in  with  a  traveler,  a  boatman;  we  inveigled  him, 
and  about  two  miles  east  of  there  Hyder  strangled  him  as  he 
stood — for  he  was  troubled  and  afraid  and  would  not  sit.  We 
then  made  a  long  journey  (about  one  hundred  and  thirty  miles) 
and  reached  Hussunpore  Bundwa,  where  at  the  tank  we  fell  in  with 
a  traveler — he  slept  there  that  night;  next  morning  we  followed 
him  and  tried  to  win  his  confidence;  at  the  distance  of  two  miles 
we  endeavored  to  induce  him  to  sit  down — but  he  would  not, 
having  become  aware  of  us.  I  attempted  to  strangle  him  as  he 
walked  along,  but  did  not  succeed;  both  of  us  then  fell  upon 
him.  He  made  a  great  outcry,  "They  are  murdering  me!'* 
At  length  we  strangled  him  and  flung  his  body  into  a  well. 
After  this  we  returned  to  our  homes,  having  been  out  a  month 
and  traveled  about  two  hundred  and  sixty  miles.  A  total  of 
two  men  murdered  on  the  expedition. 

And  here  is  another  case — related  by  the  terrible 
Futty  Khan,  a  man  with  a  tremendous  record,  to 
be  rementioned  by  and  by : 

I,  with  three  others,  traveled  for  about  forty-five  days  a 
distance  of  about  two  hundred  miles  in  search  of  victims  along 
the  highway  to  Bundwa  and  returned  by  Davodpore  (another 
two  hundred  miles) ,  during  which  journey  we  had  only  one  mur- 
der, which  happened  in  this  manner.  Four  miles  to  the  east  of 
Noubustaghat  we  fell  in  with  a  traveler,  an  old  man.  T,  with 
Koshal  and  Hyder,  inveigled  him  and  accompanied  him  that 

11^ 


MARK    TWAIN 

day  within  three  miles  of  Rampoor,  where,  after  dark,  in  a  lonely 
place,  we  got  him  to  sit  down  and  rest;  and  while  I  kept  him  in 
talk,  seated  before  him,  Hyder  behind  strangled  him:  he  made 
no  resistance.  Koshal  stabbed  him  under  the  arms  and  in  the 
throat,  and  we  flung  the  body  into  a  running  stream.  We  got 
about  four  or  five  rupees  each  ($2  or  $2.50).  We  then  proceeded 
homeward.     A  total  of  one  man  murdered  on  this  expedition. 

There.  They  tramped  four  hundred  miles,  were 
gone  about  three  months,  and  harvested  two  dollars 
and  a  half  apiece.  But  the  mere  pleasure  of  the 
hunt  was  sufficient.  That  was  pay  enough.  They 
did  no  grumbling. 

Every  now  and  then  in  this  big  book  one  comes 
across  that  pathetic  remark:  "We  tried  to  get  him 
to  sit  down  but  he  would  not."  It  tells  the  whole 
story.  Some  accident  had  awakened  the  suspicion 
in  him  that  these  smooth  friends  who  had  been 
petting  and  coddling  him  and  making  him  feel  so 
safe  and  so  fortimate  after  his  forlorn  and  lonely 
wanderings  were  the  dreaded  Thugs;  and  now  their 
ghastly  invitation  to  "sit  and  rest"  had  confirmed 
its  truth.  He  knew  there  was  no  help  for  him,  and 
that  he  was  looking  his  last  upon  earthly  things,  but 
"he  would  not  sit."  No,  not  that — it  was  too  awful 
to  think  of! 

There  are  a  number  of  instances  which  indicate 
that  when  a  man  had  once  tasted  the  regal  joys  of 
man-hunting  he  could  not  be  content  with  the  dull 
monotony  of  a  crimeless  life  afterward.  Example, 
from  a  Thug's  testimony : 

We  passed  through  to  Kumaul,  where  we  found  a  former  Thug 
named  Junooa,  an  old  comrade  of  ours,  who  had  turned  religious 

116 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

mendicant  and  become  a  disciple  and  holy.     He  came  to  us  in 
the  serai  and  weeping  with  joy  returned  to  his  old  trade. 

Neither  wealth  nor  honors  nor  dignities  could 
satisfy  a  reformed  Thug  for  long.  He  would  throw 
them  all  away,  some  day,  and  go  back  to  the  lurid 
pleasures  of  himting  men,  and  being  himted  himself 
by  the  British. 

Ramzam  was  taken  into  a  great  native  grandee's 
service  and  given  authority  over  five  villages.  "My 
authority  extended  over  these  people  to  summons 
them  to  my  presence,  to  make  them  stand  or  sit.  I 
dressed  well,  rode  my  pony,  and  had  two  sepoys,  a 
scribe  and  a  village  guard  to  attend  me.  During 
three  years  I  used  to  pay  each  village  a  monthly 
visit,  and  no  one  suspected  that  I  was  a  Thug !  The 
chief  man  used  to  wait  on  me  to  transact  business, 
and,  as  I  passed  along,  old  and  young  made  their 
salaam  to  me." 

And  yet  during  that  very  three  years  he  got  leave 
ol  absence  "to  attend  a  wedding,"  and  instead  went 
off  on  a  Thugging  lark  with  six  other  Thugs  and 
hunted  the  highway  for  fifteen  days! — with  satis- 
factory results. 

Afterward  he  held  a  great  office  imder  a  Raja. 
There  he  had  ten  miles  of  country  under  his  com- 
mand and  a  military  guard  of  fifteen  men,  with 
authority  to  call  out  two  thousand  more  upon  occa- 
sion. But  the  British  got  on  his  track,  and  they 
crowded  him  so  that  he  had  to  give  himself  up. 
See  what  a  figure  he  was  when  he  was  gotten  up  for 
style  and  had  all  his  things  on :  "I  was  fully  armed — 
a  sword,  shield,  pistols,  a  matchlock  musket  and  a 

117 


MARK     TWAIN 

flint  gun,  for  I  was  fond  of  being  thus  arrayed,  and 
when  so  armed  feared  not  though  forty  men  stood 
before  me." 

He  gave  himself  up  and  proudly  proclaimed  him- 
self a  Thug.  Then  by  request  he  agreed  to  betray 
his  friend  and  pal,  Buhram,  a  Thug  with  the  most 
tremendous  record  in  India.  "I  went  to  the  house 
where  Buhram  slept  (often  has  he  led  our  gangs!). 
I  woke  him,  he  knew  me  well,  and  came  outside  to 
me.  It  was  a  cold  night,  so,  imder  pretense  of 
warming  myself,  but  in  reality  to  have  Hght  for  his 
seizure  by  the  guards,  I  Hghted  some  straw  and 
made  a  blaze.  We  were  warming  our  hands.  The 
guards  drew  around  us.  I  said  to  them,  'This  is 
Buhram,'  and  he  was  seized  just  as  a  cat  seizes  a 
mouse.  Then  Buhram  said,  '  I  am  a  Thug !  my  father 
was  a  Thug,  my  grandfather  was  a  Thug,  and  I  have 
thugged  with  many!'" 

So  spoke  the  mighty  himter,  the  mightiest  of  the 
mighty,  the  Gordon  Cimaming  of  his  day.  Not 
much  regret  noticeable  in  it.^ 

*  "Having  planted  a  bullet  in  the  shoulder-bone  of  an  elephant, 
and  caused  the  agonized  creature  to  lean  for  support  against  a  tree,  I 
proceeded  to  brew  some  coffee.  Having  refreshed  myself,  taking 
observations  of  the  elephant's  spasms  and  writhings  between  the 
sips,  I  resolved  to  make  experiments  on  vulnerable  points,  and, 
approaching  very  near,  I  fired  several  bullets  at  different  parts  of 
his  enormous  skull.  He  only  acknowledged  the  shots  by  a  salaam- 
like movement  of  his  trunk,  with  the  point  of  which  he  gently 
touched  the  wounds  with  a  striking  and  peculiar  action.  Surprised 
and  shocked  to  find  that  I  was  only  prolonging  the  suffering  of  the 
noble  beast,  which  bore  its  trials  with  such  dignified  composure,  I 
resolved  to  finish  the  proceeding  with  all  possible  despatch,  and 
accordingly  opened  fire  upon  him  from  the  left  side.  Aiming  at  the 
shoulder,  I  fired  six  shots  with  the  two-grooved  rifle,  which  must 

Ii8 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

So  many,  many  times  this  Official  Report  leaves 
one's  curiosity  unsatisfied.  For  instance,  here  is  a 
little  paragraph  out  of  the  record  of  a  certain  band 
of  one  hundred  and  ninety-three  Thugs,  which  has 
that  defect: 

Fell  in  with  Lall  Sing  Subahdar  and  his  family,  consisting  of 
nine  persons.  Traveled  with  them  two  days,  and  the  third  put 
them  all  to  death  except  the  two  children,  little  boys  of  one  and 
a  half  years  old. 

There  it  stops.  What  did  they  do  with  those  poor 
little  fellows?  What  was  their  subsequent  history? 
Did  they  purpose  training  them  up  as  Thugs  ?  How 
could  they  take  care  of  such  Httle  creatures  on  a 
march  which  stretched  over  several  months  ?  No  one 
seems  to  have  cared  to  ask  any  questions  about  the 
babies.    But  I  do  wish  I  knew. 

One  would  be  apt  to  imagine  that  the  Thugs  were 
utterly  callous,  utterly  destitute  of  human  feelings, 
heartless  toward  their  own  families  as  well  as  toward 
other  people's;  but  this  was  not  so.  Like  all  other 
Indians,  they  had  a  passionate  love  for  their  kin.  A 
shrewd  British  officer  who  knew  the  Indian  character, 
took  that  characteristic  into  account  in  laying  his 
plans  for  the  capture  of  Eugene  Sue's  famous  Fer- 
inghea.  He  found  out  Feringhea's  hiding-place,  and 
sent  a  guard  by  night  to  seize  him,  but  the  squad 
was  awkward  and  he  got  away.    However,  they  got 

have  eventually  proved  mortal,  after  which  I  fired  six  shots  at  the 
same  part  with  the  Dutch  six-pounder.  Large  tears  now  trickled 
down  from  his  eyes,  which  he  slowly  shut  and  opened,  his  colossal 
frame  shivered  convulsively,  and  falling  on  his  side  he  expired." — 
Gordon  Cumming. 

119 


MARK     TWAIN 

the  rest  of  the  family — the  mother,  wife,  child,  and 
brother — and  brought  them  to  the  officer,  at  Jub- 
bulpore;  the  officer  did  not  fret,  but  bided  his  time: 
"I  knew  Feringhea  would  not  go  far  while  links  so 
dear  to  him  were  in  my  hands.'*  He  was  right. 
Feringhea  knew  all  the  danger  he  was  running  by 
staying  in  the  neighborhood,  still  he  could  not  tear 
himself  away.  The  officer  found  that  he  divided  his 
time  between  five  villages  where  he  had  relatives  and 
friends  who  could  get  news  for  him  from  his  family 
in  Jubbulpore  jail;  and  that  he  never  slept  two  con- 
secutive nights  in  the  same  village.  The  officer 
traced  out  his  several  haunts,  then  pounced  upon  all 
the  five  villages  on  the  one  night  and  at  the  same 
hour,  and  got  his  man. 

Another  example  of  family  affection.  A  little 
while  previously  to  the  capture  of  Feringhea's  family, 
the  British  officer  had  captured  Feringhea's  foster- 
brother,  leader  of  a  gang  of  ten,  and  had  tried  the 
eleven  and  condemned  them  to  be  hanged.  Ferin- 
ghea's captured  family  arrived  at  the  jail  the  day 
before  the  execution  was  to  take  place.  The  foster- 
brother,  Jhurhoo,  entreated  to  be  allowed  to  see  the 
aged  mother  and  the  others.  The  prayer  was 
granted,  and  this  is  what  took  place — ^it  is  the 
British  officer  who  speaks : 

In  the  morning,  just  before  going  to  the  scaffold,  the  interview 
took  place  before  me.  He  fell  at  the  old  woman 's  feet  and  begged 
that  she  would  relieve  him  from  the  obligations  of  the  milk  with 
which  she  had  nourished  him  from  infancy,  as  he  was  about 
to  die  before  he  could  fulfil  any  of  them.  She  placed  her  hands 
on  his  head,  and  he  knelt,  and  she  said  she  forgave  him  all, 
and  bid  him  die  like  a  man. 

I20 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

If  a  capable  artist  should  make  a  picture  of  it,  it 
would  be  full  of  dignity  and  solemnity  and  pathos; 
and  it  could  touch  you.  You  would  imagine  it  to 
be  anything  but  what  it  was.  There  is  reverence 
there,  and  tenderness,  and  gratefulness,  and  compas- 
sion, and  resignation,  and  fortitude,  and  self-respect 
— and  no  sense  of  disgrace,  no  thought  of  dishonor. 
Everything  is  there  that  goes  to  make  a  noble  part- 
ing, and  give  it  a  moving  grace  and  beauty  and 
dignity.  And  yet  one  of  these  people  is  a  Thug  and 
the  other  a  mother  of  Thugs !  The  incongruities 
of  our  human  nature  seem  to  reach  their  limit 
here. 

I  wish  to  make  note  of  one  curious  thing  while  I 
think  of  it.  One  of  the  very  commonest  remarks  to 
be  foimd  in  this  bewildering  array  of  Thug  confes- 
sions is  this: 

"Strangled  him  and  threw  him  in  a  well!''  In 
one  case  they  threw  sixteen  into  a  well — and  they 
had  thrown  others  in  the  same  well  before.  It  makes 
a  body  thirsty  to  read  about  it. 

And  there  is  another  very  curious  thing.  The 
bands  of  Thugs  had  private  graveyards.  They  did 
not  like  to  kill  and  bury  at  random,  here  and  there 
and  everywhere.  They  preferred  to  wait,  and  toll 
the  victims  along,  and  get  to  one  of  their  regular 
burying-places  (bheels)  if  they  could.  In  the  little 
kingdom  of  Gude,  which  was  about  half  as  big  as 
Ireland  and  about  as  big  as  the  state  of  Maine,  they 
had  two  hundred  and  seventy -four  bheels.  They  were 
scattered  along  fourteen  hundred  miles  of  road,  at  an 
average  of  only  five  miles  apart,  and  the  British  Gov- 

121 


MARK     TWAIN 

emment  traced  out  and  located  each  and  every  one 
of  them  and  set  them  down  on  the  map. 

The  Oude  bands  seldom  went  out  of  their  own 
country,  but  they  did  a  thriving  business  within  its 
borders.  So  did  outside  bands  who  came  in  and 
helped.  Some  of  the  Thug  leaders  of  Oude  were 
noted  for  their  successful  careers.  Each  of  four  of 
them  confessed  to  above  300  murders;  another  to 
nearly  400;  our  friend  Ramzam  to  604 — ^he  is  the 
one  who  got  leave  of  absence  to  attend  a  wedding 
and  went  thugging  instead;  and  he  is  also  the  one 
who  betrayed  Buhram  to  the  British. 

But  the  biggest  records  of  all  were  the  mvirder-lists 
of  Futty  Khan  and  Buhram.  Futty  Khan's  number 
is  smaller  than  Ramzam 's,  but  he  is  placed  at  the 
head  because  his  average  is  the  best  in  Oude-Thug 
history  per  year  of  service.  His  slaughter  was  five 
hundred  and  eight  men  in  twenty  years,  and  he  was 
still  a  yoimg  man  when  the  British  stopped  his 
industry.  Buhram's  list  was  nine  hundred  and  thirty- 
one  miirders,  but  it  took  him  forty  years.  His 
average  was  one  man  and  nearly  all  of  another  man 
per  month  for  forty  years,  but  Futty  Khan's  average 
was  two  men  and  a  little  of  another  man  per  month 
during  his  twenty  years  of  usefulness. 

There  is  one  very  striking  thing  which  I  wish  to 
call  attention  to.  You  have  surmised  from  the  listed 
callings  followed  by  the  victims  of  the  Thugs  that 
nobody  could  travel  the  Indian  roads  unprotected 
and  live  to  get  through;  that  the  Thugs  respected 
no  quality,  no  vocation,  no  religion,  nobody;  that 
they  killed  every  unarmed  man  that  came  in  their 

122 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

way.  That  is  wholly  true — with  one  reservation. 
In  all  the  long  file  of  Thug  confessions  an  English 
traveler  is  mentioned  but  once — and  this  is  what  the 
Thug  says  of  the  circumstance: 

He  was  on  his  way  from  Mhow  to  Bombay.  We  studiously 
avoided  him.  He  proceeded  next  morning  with  a  number  of 
travelers  who  had  sought  his  protection,  and  they  took  the  road 
to  Baroda. 

We  do  not  know  who  he  was;  he  flits  across  the 
page  of  this  rusty  old  book  and  disappears  in  the 
obscurity  beyond;  but  he  is  an  impressive  figure, 
moving  through  that  valley  of  death  serene  and  un- 
afraid, clothed  in  the  might  of  the  English  name. 

We  have  now  followed  the  big  official  book  through, 
and  we  understand  what  Thuggee  was,  what  a 
bloody  terror  it  was,  what  a  desolating  scourge  it 
was.  In  1830  the  English  found  this  cancerous  or- 
ganization embedded  in  the  vitals  of  the  empire, 
doing  its  devastating  work  in  secrecy,  and  assisted, 
protected,  sheltered,  and  hidden  by  innumerable 
confederates — big  and  little  native  chiefs,  customs 
officers,  village  officials,  and  native  police,  all  ready 
to  lie  for  it,  and  the  mass  of  the  people,  through  fear, 
persistently  pretending  to  know  nothing  about  its 
doings;  and  this  condition  of  things  had  existed  for 
generations,  and  .was  formidable  with  the  sanctions 
of  age  and  old  custom.  If  ever  there  was  an  un- 
promising task,  if  ever  there  was  a  hopeless  task  in 
the  world,  surely  it  was  offered  here — the  task  of 
conquering  Thuggee.  But  that  little  handful  of 
EngHsh  officials  in  India  set  their  sturdy  and  confi- 

123 


MARK     TWAIN 

dent  grip  upon  it,  and  ripped  it  out,  root  and  branch ! 
How  modest  do  Captain  Vallancey's  words  sound 
now,  when  we  read  them  again,  knowing  what  we 
know: 

The  day  that  sees  this  far-spread  evil  completely  eradicated 
from  India,  and  known  only  in  name,  will  greatly  tend  to 
immortalize  British  rule  in  the  East. 

It  would  be  hard  to  word  a  claim  more  modestly 
than  that  for  this  most  noble  work. 


CHAPTER  Xn 

THE   WIDOW   WHO   BURNED   GLADLY 

Grief  can  take  care  of  itself;   but  to  get  the  full  value  of  a  joy  you  must  have 
somebody  to  divide  it  with. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

WE  left  Bombay  for  Allahabad  by  a  night  train. 
It  is  the  custom  of  the  country  to  avoid  day 
travel  when  it  can  conveniently  be  done.  But  there 
is  one  trouble :  while  you  can  seemingly  * '  secure  "  the 
two  lower  berths  by  making  early  application,  there 
is  no  ticket  as  witness  of  it,  and  no  other  producible 
evidence  in  case  your  proprietorship  shall  chance  to. 
be  challenged.  The  word  "engaged"  appears  on 
the  window,  but  it  doesn't  state  who  the  compart- 
ment is  engaged  for.  If  your  Satan  and  your  Barney 
arrive  before  somebody  else's  servants,  and  spread 
the  bedding  on  the  two  sofas  and  then  stand  guard 
till  you  come,  all  will  be  well;  but  if  they  step  aside 
on  an  errand,  they  may  find  the  beds  promoted  to 
the  two  shelves,  and  somebody  else's  demons  stand- 
ing guard  over  their  master's  beds,  which  in  the 
mean  time  have  been  spread  upon  your  sofas. 

You  do  not  pay  anything  extra  for  your  sleeping- 
place;  that  is  where  the  trouble  Hes.  If  you  buy  a 
fare-ticket  and  fail  to  use  it,  there  is  room  thus 
made  available  for  some  one  else;  but  if  the  place 
were  secured  to  you  it  would  remain  vacant,  and  yet 
your  ticket  would  secure  you  another  place  when  you 
were  presently  ready  for  travel. 

125 


MARK     TWAIN 

'  However,  no  explanation  of  such  a  system  can 
make  it  seem  quite  rational  to  a  person  who  has  been 
used  to  a  more  rational  system.  If  our  people  had 
the  arranging  of  it,  we  should  charge  extra  for 
securing  the  place,  and  then  the  road  would  suffer  no 
loss  if  the  purchaser  did  not  occupy  it. 

The  present  system  encourages  good  manners — 
and  also  discourages  them.  If  a  young  girl  has  a 
lower  berth  and  an  elderly  lady  comes  in,  it  is  usual 
for  the  girl  to  offer  her  place  to  this  late  comer ;  and 
it  is  usual  for  the  late  comer  to  thank  her  coiuteously 
and  take  it.  But  the  thing  happens  differently  some- 
times. When  we  were  ready  to  leave  Bombay  my 
daughter's  satchels  were  holding  possession  of  her 
berth — a  lower  one.  At  the  last  moment,  a  middle- 
aged  American  lady  swarmed  into  the  compartment, 
followed  by  native  porters  laden  with  her  baggage. 
She  was  growling  and  snarling  and  scolding,  and 
tr>^ing  to  make  herself  phenomenally  disagreeable; 
and  succeeding.  Without  a  word,  she  hoisted  the 
satchels  into  the  hanging  shelf,  and  took  possession 
of  that  lower  berth. 

On  one  of  our  trips  Mr.  Smythe  and  I  got  out  at 
a  station  to  walk  up  and  down,  and  when  we  came 
back  Smythe 's  bed  was  in  the  hanging  shelf  and  an 
English  cavalry  officer  was  in  bed  on  the  sofa  which 
he  had  lately  been  occupying.  It  was  mean  to  be 
glad  about  it,  but  it  is  the  way  we  are  made;  I 
could  not  have  been  gladder  if  it  had  been  my  enemy 
that  had  suffered  this  misfortune.  We  all  like  to  see 
people  in  trouble,  if  it  doesn't  cost  us  anything.  I 
was  so  happy  over  Mr.   Smythe 's  chagrin  that  I 

126 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

couldn't  go  to  sleep  for  thinking  of  it  and  enjoying  it. 
I  knew  he  supposed  the  officer  had  committed  the 
robbery  himself,  whereas  without  a  doubt  the 
officer's  servant  had  done  it  without  his  knowledge. 
Mr.  Smythe  kept  this  incident  warm  in  his  heart, 
and  longed  for  a  chance  to  get  even  with  somebody 
for  it.  Sometime  afterward  the  opportunity  came, 
in  Calcutta.  We  were  leaving  on  a  twenty-four-hour 
journey  to  Darjeeling.  Mr.  Barclay,  the  general 
superintendent,  had  made  special  provision  for  our 
accommodation,  Mr.  Smythe  said;  so  there  was  no 
need  to  hurry  about  getting  to  the  train;  conse- 
quently, we  were  a  little  late.  When  we  arrived,  the 
usual  immense  turmoil  and  confusion  of  a  great 
Indian  station  were  in  full  blast.  It  was  an  immod- 
erately long  train,  for  all  the  natives  of  India  were 
going  by  it  somewhither,  and  the  native  officials 
were  being  pestered  to  frenzy  by  belated  and  anxious 
people.  They  didn't  know  where  our  car  was,  and 
couldn't  remember  having  received  any  orders  about 
it.  It  was  a  deep  disappointment;  moreover,  it 
looked  as  if  our  half  of  our  party  would  be  left 
behind  altogether.  Then  Satan  came  running  and 
said  he  had  found  a  compartment  with  one  shelf  and 
one  sofa  unoccupied,  and  had  made  our  beds  and 
had  stowed  our  baggage.  We  rushed  to  the  place, 
and  just  as  the  train  was  ready  to  pull  out  and  the 
porters  were  slamming  the  doors  to,  all  down  the 
line,  an  officer  of  the  Indian  Civil  Service,  a  good 
friend  of  ours,  put  his  head  in  and  said : 

' '  I  have  been  hunting  for  you  everywhere.    What, 
are  you  doing  here?    Don't  you  know — " 

127 


MARK     TWAIN 

The  train  started  before  he  could  finish.  Mr. 
Smythe's  opportunity  was  come.  His  bedding,  on 
the  shelf,  at  once  changed  places  with  the  bedding 
— a  stranger's — that  w^as  occupying  the  sofa  that 
was  opposite  to  mine.  About  ten  o'clock  we  stopped 
somewhere,  and  a  large  Englishman  of  official  mili- 
tary bearing  stepped  in.  We  pretended  to  be  asleep. 
The  lamps  were  covered,  but  there  was  light  enough 
for  us  to  note  his  look  of  surprise.  He  stood  there, 
grand  and  fine,  peering  down  at  Smythe,  and  won- 
dering in  silence  at  the  situation.    After  a  bit  he  said : 

"Well!"    And  that  was  all. 

But  that  was  enough.  It  was  easy  to  understand. 
It  meant:  "This  is  extraordinary.  This  is  high- 
handed.   I  haven't  had  an  experience  like  this  before. ' ' 

He  sat  down  on  his  baggage,  and  for  tw^enty 
minutes  we  watched  him  through  our  eyelashes,  rock- 
ing and  swaying  there  to  the  motion  of  the  train. 
Then  we  came  to  a  station,  and  he  got  up  and  went 
out,  muttering:  "I  must  find  a  lower  berth,  or  wait 
over."  His  servant  came  presently  and  carried 
away  his  things. 

Mr.  Smythe's  sore  place  was  healed,  his  himger 
for  revenge  was  satisfied.  But  he  couldn't  sleep, 
and  neither  could  I;  for  this  was  a  venerable  old 
car,  and  nothing  about  it  was  taut.  The  closet  door 
slammed  all  night,  and  defied  every  fastening  we 
could  invent.  We  got  up  very  much  jaded,  at 
dawn,  and  stepped  out  at  a  way-station ;  and,  while 
we  were  taking  a  cup  of  coffee,  that  Englishman 
ranged  up  alongside,  and  somebody  said  to  him: 

"So  you  didn't  stop  off,  after  all?" 

128 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

"No.  The  guard  found  a  place  for  me  that  had 
been  engaged  and  not  occupied.  I  had  a  whole 
saloon  car  all  to  myself — oh,  quite  palatial!  I 
never  had  such  luck  in  my  life." 

That  was  our  car,  you  see.  We  moved  into  it, 
straight  off,  the  family  and  all.  But  I  asked  the 
English  gentleman  to  remain,  and  he  did.  A  pleasant 
man,  an  infantry  colonel;  and  doesn't  know,  yet, 
that  Smythe  robbed  him  of  his  berth,  but  thinks 
it  was  done  by  Smythe's  servant  without  Smythe's 
knowledge.  He  was  assisted  in  gathering  this  im- 
pression. 

The  Indian  trains  are  manned  by  natives  exclu- 
sively. The  Indian  stations — except  very  large  and 
important  ones — are  manned  entirely  by  natives, 
and  so  are  the  posts  and  telegraphs.  The  rank  and 
file  of  the  police  are  natives.  All  these  people  are 
pleasant  and  accommodating.  One  day  I  left  an 
express  -  train  to  loimge  about  in  that  perennially 
ravishing  show,  the  ebb  and  flow  and  whirl  of  gaudy 
natives,  that  is  always  surging  up  and  down  the 
spacious  platform  of  a  great  Indian  station;  and  I 
lost  myself  in  the  ecstasy  of  it,  and  when  I  turned, 
the  train  was  moving  swiftly  away.  I  was  going  to 
sit  down  and  wait  for  another  train,  as  I  would  have 
done  at  home ;  I  had  no  thought  of  any  other  course. 
But  a  native  official,  who  had  a  green  flag  in  "his  hand, 
saw  me,  and  said  politely : 

"Don't  you  belong  in  the  train,  sir?" 

"Yes,"  I  said. 

He  waved  his  flag,  and  the  train  came  back! 
And  he  put  me  aboard  with  as  much  ceremony  as  if 
u. — 9  129 


MARK     TWAIN 

I  had  been  the  General  Superintendent.  They  are 
kindly  people,  the  natives.  The  face  and  the  bear- 
ing that  indicate  a  surly  spirit  and  a  bad  heart 
seemed  to  me  to  be  so  rare  among  Indians — so 
neariy  non-existent,  in  fact — that  I  sometimes  won- 
dered if  Thuggee  wasn't  a  dream,  and  not  a  reality. 
The  bad  hearts  are  there,  but  I  believe  that  they  are 
in  a  small,  poor  minority.  One  thing  is  sure :  They 
are  much  the  most  interesting  people  in  the  world — 
and  the  nearest  to  being  incomprehensible.  At  any 
rate,  the  hardest  to  account  for.  Their  character 
and  their  history,  their  customs  and  their  religion, 
confront  you  with  riddles  at  every  turn — riddles 
which  are  a  trifle  more  perplexing  after  they  are 
explained  than  they  were  before.  You  can  get  the 
facts  of  a  custom — like  caste,  and  Suttee,  and 
Thuggee,  and  so  on — and  with  the  facts  a  theory 
which  tries  to  explain,  but  never  quite  does  it  to 
your  satisfaction.  You  can  never  quite  understand 
how  so  strange  a  thing  could  have  been  bom,  nor 
why. 

For  instance — ^the  Suttee.  This  is  the  explana- 
tion of  it :  A  woman  who  throws  away  her  life  when 
her  husband  dies  is  instantly  joined  to  him  again, 
and  is  forever  afterward  happy  with  him  in  heaven; 
her  family  will  build  a  little  monument  to  her,  or  a 
temple,  and  will  hold  her  in  honor,  and,  indeed, 
worship  her  memory  always;  they  will  themselves 
be  held  in  honor  by  the  public;  the  woman's  self- 
sacrifice  has  conferred  a  noble  and  lasting  distinction 
upon  her  posterity.  And,  besides,  see  what  she  has 
escaped:   If  she  had  elected  to  live,  she  would  be  a 

130 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

disgraced  person ;  she  could  not  remarry ;  her  family 
would  despise  her  and  disown  her;  she  would  be  a 
friendless  outcast,  and  miserable  all  her  days. 

Very  well,  you  say,  but  the  explanation  is  not 
cx)mplete  yet.  How  did  people  come  to  drift  into 
such  a  strange  custom  ?  What  was  the*  origin  of  the 
idea?  "Well,  nobody  knows;  it  was  probably  a 
revelation  sent  down  by  the  gods."  One  more  thing: 
Why  was  such  a  cruel  death  chosen — why  wouldn't 
a  gentle  one  have  answered?  ''Nobody  knows; 
maybe  that  was  a  revelation,  too." 

No — ^you  can  never  understand  it.  It  all  seems 
impossible.  You  resolve  to  believe  that  a  widow 
never  burnt  herself  willingly,  but  went  to  her  death 
because  she  was  afraid  to  defy  public  opinion.  But 
you  are  not  able  to  keep  that  position.  History 
drives  you  from  it.  Major  Sleeman  has  a  convincing 
case  in  one  of  his  books.  In  his  government  on  the 
Nerbudda  he  made  a  brave  attempt  on  the  28  th 
of  March,  1828,  to  put  down  Suttee  on  his  own 
hook  and  without  warrant  from  the  Supreme  Gov- 
ernment of  India.  He  could  not  foresee  that  the 
government  would  put  it  down  itself  eight  months 
later.  The  only  backing  he  had  was  a  bold  nature 
and  a  compassionate  heart.  He  issued  his  proclama- 
tion abolishing  the  Suttee  in  his  district.  On  the 
morning  of  Tuesday — note  the  day  of  the  week — the 
24th  of  the  following  November,  Ummed  Singh 
Upadhya,  head  of  the  most  respectable  and  most 
extensive  Brahman  family  in  the  district,  died,  and 
presently  came  a  deputation  of  his  sons  and  grand- 
sons to  beg  that  his  old  widow  might  be  allowed  to 

131 


MARK     TWAIN 

bum  herself  upon  his  pyre.  Sleeman  threatened  to 
enforce  his  order,  and  punish  severely  any  man  who 
assisted;  and  he  placed  a  police  guard  to  see  that 
no  one  did  so.  From  the  early  morning  the  old 
widow  of  sixty -five  had  been  sitting  on  the  bank  of 
the  sacred  river  by  her  dead,  waiting  through  the 
long  hours  for  the  permission ;  and  at  last  the  refusal 
came  instead.  In  one  little  sentence  Sleeman  gives 
you  a  pathetic  picture  of  this  lonely  old  gray  figure : 
all  day  and  all  night  *'she  remained  sitting  by  the 
edge  of  the  water  without  eating  or  drinking."  The 
next  morning  the  body  of  the  husband  was  burned 
to  ashes  in  a  pit  eight  feet  square  and  three  or  four 
feet  deep,  in  the  view  of  several  thousand  spectators. 
Then  the  widow  waded  out  to  a  bare  rock  in  the 
river,  and  everybody  went  away  but  her  sons  and 
other  relations.  All  day  she  sat  there  on  her  rock  in 
the  blazing  sim  without  food  or  drink,  and  with  no 
clothing  but  a  sheet  over  her  shoulders. 

The  relatives  remained  with  her,  and  all  tried  to 
persuade  her  to  desist  from  her  purpose,  for  they 
deeply  loved  her.  She  steadily  refused.  Then  a 
part  of  the  family  went  to  Sleeman 's  house,  ten 
miles  away,  and  tried  again  to  get  him  to  let  her 
bum  herself.     He  refused,  hoping  to  save  her  yet. 

All  that  day  she  scorched  in  her  sheet  on  the  rock, 
and  all  that  night  she  kept  her  vigil  there  in  the 
bitter  cold.  Thursday  moming,  in  the  sight  of  her 
relatives,  she  went  through  a  ceremonial  which  said 
more  to  them  than  any  words  could  have  done; 
she  put  on  the  dhaja  (a  coarse  red  turban)  and 
broke  her  bracelets  in  pieces.     By  these  acts  she 

132 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

became  a  dead  person  in  the  eye  of  the  law,  and 
excluded  from  her  caste  forever.  By  the  iron  rule 
of  ancient  custom,  if  she  should  now  choose  to  live 
she  could  never  return  to  her  family.  Sleeman  was 
in  deep  trouble.  If  she  starved  herself  to  death  her 
family  would  be  disgraced;  and,  moreover,  starving 
would  be  a  more  lingering  misery  than  the  death  by 
fire.  He  went  back  in  the  evening  thoroughly 
worried.  The  old  woman  remained  on  her  rock, 
and  there  in  the  morning  he  found  her  with  her  dhaja 
still  on  her  head.  **She  talked  very  collectedly, 
telling  me  that  she  had  determined  to  mix  her  ashes 
with  those  of  her  departed  husband,  and  should 
patiently  wait  my  permission  to  do  so,  assured  that 
God  would  enable  her  to  sustain  life  till  that  was 
given,  though  she  dared  not  eat  or  drink.  Looking 
at  the  sun,  then  rising  before  her  over  a  long  and 
beautiful  reach  of  the  river,  she  said  calmly,  'My 
soul  has  been  for  five  days  with  my  husband's  near 
that  sun;  nothing  but  my  earthly  frame  is  left; 
and  this,  I  know,  you  will  in  time  suffer  to  be  mixed 
with  his  ashes  in  yonder  pit,  because  it  is  not  in 
your  nature  or  usage  wantonly  to  prolong  the 
miseries  of  a  poor  old  woman.'" 

He  assured  her  that  it  was  his  desire  and  duty  to 
save  her,  and  to  urge  her  to  live,  and  to  keep  her 
family  from  the  disgrace  of  being  thought  her  mur- 
derers. But  she  said  she  was  not  afraid  of  their 
being  thought  so;  that  they  had  all,  like  good  chil- 
dren, done  everything  in  their  power  to  induce  her 
to  live,  and  to  abide  with  them;  "and  if  I  should 
consent  I  know  they  would  love  and  honor  me,  but 

133 


MARK     TWAIN 

my  duties  to  them  have  now  ended.  I  commit  them 
all  to  your  care,  and  I  go  to  attend  my  husband, 
Ummed  Singh  Upadhya,  with  whose  ashes  on  the 
funeral  pile  mine  have  been  already  three  times 
mixed." 

She  believed  that  she  and  he  had  been  upon  the 
earth  three  several  times  as  wife  and  husband,  and 
that  she  had  burned  herself  to  death  three  times 
upon  his  pyre.  That  is  why  she  said  that  strange 
thing.  Since  she  had  broken  her  bracelets  and  put 
on  the  red  turban  she  regarded  herself  as  a  corpse; 
otherwise  she  would  not  have  allowed  herself  to  do 
her  husband  the  irreverence  of  pronoimcing  his 
name.  ' '  This  was  the  first  time  in  her  long  life  that 
she  had  ever  uttered  her  husband's  name,  for  in 
India  no  woman,  high  or  low,  ever  pronounces  the 
name  of  her  husband." 

Major  Sleeman  still  tried  to  shake  her  purpose. 
He  promised  to  build  her  a  fine  house  among  the 
temples  of  her  ancestors  upon  the  bank  of  the  river 
and  make  handsome  provision  for  her  out  of  rent- 
free  lands  if  she  would  consent  to  live;  and  if  she 
wouldn't  he  would  allow  no  stone  or  brick  to  ever 
mark  the  place  where  she  died.  But  she  only  smiled 
and  said,  "My  pulse  has  long  ceased  to  beat,  my 
spirit  has  departed;  I  shall  suffer  nothing  in  the 
burning;  and  if  you  wish  proof,  order  some  fire  and 
you  shall  see  this  arm  constimed  without  giving  me 
any  pain." 

Sleeman  was  now  satisfied  that  he  cotild  not  alter 
her  purpose.  He  sent  for  all  the  chief  members  of 
the  family  and  said  he  would  suffer  her  to  bum  her- 

134 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

self  if  they  would  enter  into  a  written  engagement  to 
abandon  the  Suttee  in  their  family  thenceforth. 
They  agreed;  the  papers  were  drawn  out  and 
signed,  and  at  noon,  Saturday,  word  was  sent  to  the 
poor  old  woman.  She  seemed  greatly  pleased.  The 
ceremonies  of  bathing  were  gone  through  with,  and 
by  three  o'clock  she  was  ready  and  the  fire  was 
briskly  burning  in  the  pit.  She  had  now  gone  with- 
out food  or  drink  during  more  than  four  days  and  a 
half.  She  came  ashore  from  her  rock,  first  wetting 
her  sheet  in  the  waters  of  the  sacred  river,  for  with- 
out that  safeguard  any  shadow  which  might  fall 
upon  her  would  convey  impurity  to  her;  then  she 
walked  to  the  pit,  leaning  upon  one  of  her  sons  and 
a  nephew — the  distance  was  a  hundred  and  fifty 
yards. 

I  had  sentries  placed  all  around,  and  no  other  person  was 
allowed  to  approach  within  five  paces.  She  came  on  with  a 
calm  and  cheerful  countenance,  stopped  once,  and,  casting  her 
eyes  upward,  said:  "Why  have  they  kept  me  five  days  from 
thee,  my  husband?"  On  coming  to  the  sentries  her  supporters 
stopped  and  remained  standing;  she  moved  on,  and  walked 
once  aroimd  the  pit,  paused  a  moment,  and,  while  muttering 
a  prayer,  threw  some  flowers  into  the  fire.  She  then  walked 
up  deliberately  and  steadily  to  the  brink,  stepped  into  the 
center  of  the  flame,  sat  down,  and,  leaning  back  in  the  midst 
as  if  reposing  upon  a  couch,  was  consumed  without  uttering  a 
shriek  or  betraying  one  sign  of  agony. 

It  is  fine  and  beautiful.  It  comepls  one's  rever- 
ence and  respect — no,  has  it  freely,  and  without 
compulsion.  We  see  how  the  custom,  once  started, 
could  continue,  for  the  soul  of  it  is  that  stupendous 
power,  Faith;  faith  brought  to  the  pitch  of  effective- 

135 


MARK     TWAIN 

ness  by  the  oimulative  force  of  example  and  long 
use  and  custom;  but  we  cannot  imderstand  how  the 
first  widows  came  to  take  to  it.  That  is  a  perplexing 
detail. 

Sleeman  says  that  it  was  usual  to  play  music  at  the 
Suttee,  but  that  the  white  man's  notion  that  this 
was  to  drown  the  screams  of  the  martyr  is  not  cor- 
rect; that  it  had  a  quite  different  purpose.  It  was 
beHeved  that  the  TnartyT  died  prophesying;  that  the 
prophecies  sometimes  foretold  disaster,  and  it  was 
considered  a  kindness  to  those  upon  whom  it  was  to 
fall  to  drown  the  voice  and  keep  them  in  ignorance 
of  the  misfortune  that  was  to  come. 


CHAPTER  XIII 

'ALLAHABAD    AND   THE   HOLY   FAIR 

He  had  had  much  experience  of  physicians,  and  said  "the  only  way  to  keep 
your  health  is  to  eat  what  you  don't  want,  drink  what  you  don't  like,  and  do  what 
you'd  druther  not." — PudcTnhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

IT  was  a  long  journey — two  nights,  one  day,  and 
part  of  another  day,  from  Bombay  eastward  to 
Allahabad ;  but  it  was  always  interesting,  and  it  was 
not  fatiguing.  At  first  the  night  travel  promised  to 
be  fatiguing,  but  that  was  on  accoimt  of  pajamas. 
This  foolish  nightdress  consists  of  jacket  and  drawers. 
Sometimes  they  are  made  of  silk,  sometimes  of  a 
raspy,  scratchy,  slazy  woolen  material  with  a  sand- 
paper surface.  The  drawers  are  loose  elephant-legged 
and  elephant- waist ed  things,  and  instead  of  button- 
ing around  the  body  there  is  a  draw-string  to  produce 
the  required  shrinkage.  The  jacket  is  roomy,  and 
one  buttons  it  in  front.  Pajamas  are  hot  on  a  hot 
night  and  cold  on  a  cold  night — defects  which  a 
nightshirt  is  free  from.  I  tried  the  pajamas  in  order 
to  be  in  the  fashion ;  but  I  was  obliged  to  give  them 
up,  I  couldn't  stand  them.  There  was  no  sufficient 
change  from  day  gear  to  night  gear.  I  missed  the 
refreshing  and  luxurious  sense,  induced  by  the 
nightgown,  of  being  undressed,  emancipated,  set 
free  from  restraints  and  trammels.  In  place  of  that, 
I  had  the  worried,  confined,  oppressed,  suffocated 

137 


MARK     TWAIN 

sense  of  being  abed  with  my  clothes  on.  All  through 
the  warm  half  of  the  night  the  coarse  surfaces  irri- 
tated my  skin  and  made  it  feel  baked  and  feverish, 
and  the  dreams  which  came  in  the  fitful  flurries  of 
slumber  were  such  as  distress  the  sleep  of  the  damned, 
or  ought  to;  and  all  through  the  cold  other  half  of 
the  night  I  could  get  no  time  for  sleep  because  I 
had  to  employ  it  all  in  stealing  blankets.  But 
blankets  are  of  no  value  at  such  a  time;  the  higher 
they  are  piled  the  more  effectively  they  cork  the 
cold  in  and  keep  it  from  getting  out.  The  result  is 
that  your  legs  are  ice,  and  you  know  how  you  will 
feel  by  and  by  when  you  are  buried.  In  a  sane 
interval  I  discarded  the  pajamas,  and  led  a  rational 
and  comfortable  life  thenceforth. 

Out  in  the  country  in  India,  the  day  begins  early. 
One  sees  a  plain,  perfectly  flat,  dust-colored  and 
brick-yardy,  stretching  limitlessly  away  on  every  side 
in  the  dim  gray  light,  striped  everyivhere  with  hard- 
beaten  narrow  paths,  the  vast  flatness  broken  at 
wide  intervals  by  bunches  of  spectral  trees  that  mark 
where  villages  are;  and  along  all  the  paths  are 
slender  women  and  the  black  forms  of  lanky  naked 
men  moving  to  their  work,  the  women  with  brass 
water- jars  on  their  heads,  the  men  carrying  hoes. 
The  man  is  not  entirely  naked ;  always  there  is  a  bit 
of  white  rag,  a  loin-cloth;  it  amounts  to  a  bandage, 
and  is  a  white  accent  on  his  black  person,  like  the 
silver  band  around  the  middle  of  a  pipe-stem. 
Sometimes  he  also  wears  a  fluffy  and  voluminous 
white  turban,  and  this  adds  a  second  accent.  He 
then  answers  properly  to  Miss  Gordon  Gumming 's 

138 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

flashlight  picture  of  him — as  a  person  who  is  dressed 
in  "a  turban  and  a  pocket  handkerchief." 

All  day  long  one  has  this  monotony  of  dust- 
colored  dead  levels  and  scattering  bunches  of  trees 
and  mud  villages.  You  soon  realize  that  India  is 
not  beautiful ;  still  there  is  an  enchantment  about  it 
that  is  beguiling,  and  which  does  not  pall.  You 
cannot  tell  just  what  it  is  that  makes  the  spell,  per- 
haps, but  you  feel  it  and  confess  it,  nevertheless. 
Of  course,  at  bottom,  you  know  in  a  vague  way  that 
it  is  history;  it  is  that  that  affects  you,  a  haunting 
sense  of  the  myriads  of  human  lives  that  have  blos- 
somed, and  withered,  and  perished  here,  repeating 
and  repeating  and  repeating,  century  after  century, 
and  age  after  age,  the  barren  and  meaningless  proc- 
ess; it  is  this  sense  that  gives  to  this  forlorn,  uncomely 
land  power  to  speak  to  the  spirit  and  make  friends 
with  it ;  to  speak  to  it  with  a  voice  bitter  w  th  satire, 
but  eloquent  with  melancholy.  The  deserts  of 
Australia  and  the  ice-barrens  of  Greenland  have  no 
speech,  for  they  have  no  venerable  history;  with 
nothing  to  tell  of  man  and  his  vanities,  his  fleeting 
glories  and  his  miseries,  they  have  nothing  wherewith 
to  spiritualize  their  ugliness  and  veil  it  with  a  charm. 

There  is  nothing  pretty  about  an  Indian  village — 
a  mud  one — and  I  do  not  remember  that  we  saw 
any  but  mud  ones  on  that  long  flight  to  Allahabad. 
It  is  a  little  bunch  of  dirt-colored  mud  hovels  jammed 
together  within  a  mud  wall.  As  a  rule,  the  rains  had 
beaten  down  parts  of  some  of  the  houses,  and  this 
gave  the  village  the  aspect  of  a  moldcring  and 
hoary  ruin.     I  believe  the  cattle  and  the  vermin  live 

139 


MARK     TWAIN 

inside  the  wall;  for  I  saw  cattle  coming  out  and 
cattle  going  in;  and  whenever  I  saw  a  villager  he 
was  scratching.  This  last  is  only  circumstantial 
evidence,  but  I  think  it  has  value.  The  village  has 
a  battered  Httle  temple  or  two,  big  enough  to  hold 
an  idol,  and  with  custom  enough  to  fat  up  a  priest 
and  keep  him  comfortable.  Where  there  are  Moham- 
medans there  are  generally  a  few  sorry  tombs  out- 
side the  village  that  have  a  decayed  and  neglected 
look.  The  villages  interested  me  because  of  things 
which  Major  Sleeman  says  about  them  in  his  books — 
particularly  what  he  says  about  the  division  of  labor 
m  them.  He  says  that  the  whole  face  of  India  is 
parceled  out  into  estates  of  villages;  that  nine- 
tenths  of  the  vast  population  of  the  land  consist  of 
cultivators  of  the  soil;  that  it  is  these  cultivators 
who  inhabit  the  villages;  that  there  are  certain 
'  ^established  "  village  servants — mechanics  and  others 
who  are  apparently  paid  a  wage  by  the  village  at 
large,  and  whose  callings  remain  in  certain  families 
and  are  handed  down  from  father  to  son,  like  an 
estate.  He  gives  a  list  of  these  established  servants : 
Priest,  blacksmith,  carpenter,  accountant,  washer- 
man, basket-maker,  potter,  watchman,  barber,  shoe- 
maker, brazier,  confectioner,  weaver,  dyer,  etc.  In 
his  day  witches  abounded,  and  it  was  not  thought 
good  business  wisdom  for  a  man  to  marry  his 
daughter  into  a  family  that  hadn't  a  witch  in  it, 
for  she  would  need  a  witch  on  the  premises  to  protect 
her  children  from  the  evil  spells  which  would  cer- 
tainly be  cast  upon  them  by  the  witches  connected 
with  the  neighboring  families. 

140 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

The  office  of  midwife  was  hereditary  in  the  family 
of  the  basket-maker.  It  belonged  to  his  wife.  She 
might  not  be  competent,  but  the  office  was  hers, 
anyway.  Her  pay  was  not  high — twenty-five  cents 
for  a  boy,  and  half  as  much  for  a  girl.  The  girl  was 
not  desired,  because  she  would  be  a  disastrous  ex- 
pense by  and  by.  As  soon  as  she  should  be  old 
enough  to  begin  to  wear  clothes  for  propriety's  sake, 
it  would  be  a  disgrace  to  the  family  if  she  were  not 
married;  and  to  marry  her  meant  financial  ruin; 
for  by  custom  the  father  must  spend  upon  feasting 
and  wedding-display  everything  he  had  and  all  he 
could  borrow — in  fact,  reduce  himself  to  a  condition 
of  poverty  which  he  might  nevermore  recover  from. 

It  was  the  dread  of  this  prospective  ruin  which 
made  the  killing  of  girl  babies  so  prevalent  in  India 
in  the  old  days  before  England  laid  the  iron  hand  of 
her  prohibitions  upon  the  piteous  slaughter.  One 
may  judge  of  how  prevalent  the  custom  was,  by  one 
of  Sleeman's  casual  electrical  remarks,  when  he 
speaks  of  children  at  play  in  villages  —  where  girl 
voices  were  never  heard! 

The  wedding-display  folly  is  still  in  full  force  in 
India,  and  by  consequence  the  destruction  of  girl 
babies  is  stiU  furtively  practised;  but  not  largely, 
because  of  the  vigilance  of  the  government  and  the 
sternness  of  the  penalties  it  levies 

In  some  parts  of  India  the  village  keeps  in  its  pay 
three  other  servants :  an  astrologer  to  tell  the  villager 
when  he  may  plant  his  crop,  or  make  a  journey,  or 
marry  a  wife,  or  strangle  a  child,  or  borrow  a  dog, 
or  climb  a  tree,  or  catch  a  rat,  or  swindle  a  neighbor, 

141 


MARK     TWAIN 

.without  offending  the  alert  and  soHcitous  heavens; 
and  what  his  dream  means,  if  he  has  had  one  and 
was  not  bright  enough  to  interpret  it  himself  by  the 
details  of  his  dinner;  the  two  other  established  ser- 
vants were  the  tiger  -  persuader  and  the  hail-storm- 
discourager.  The  one  kept  away  the  tigers  if  he 
could,  and  collected  the  wages  anyway,  and  the 
other  kept  off  the  hail-storms,  or  explained  why  he 
failed.  He  charged  the  same  for  explaining  a  failure 
that  he  did  for  scoring  a  success.  A  man  is  an  idiot 
who  can't  earn  a  living  in  India. 

Major  Sleeman  reveals  the  fact  that  the  trade- 
imion  and  the  boycott  are  ant  quities  in  India. 
India  seems  to  have  originated  everything.  The 
*' sweeper"  belongs  to  the  bottom  caste;  he  is  the 
lowest  of  the  low — all  other  castes  despise  him  and 
scorn  his  ofiSce.  But  that  does  not  trouble  him. 
His  caste  is  a  caste,  and  that  is  sufficient  for  him, 
and  so  he  is  proud  of  it,  not  ashamed.  Sleeman 
says: 

It  is  perhaps  not  known  to  many  of  my  coimtrymen,  even  in 
India,  that  in  every  town  and  city  in  the  coimtry  the  right  of 
sweeping  the  houses  and  streets  is  a  monopoly,  and  is  supported 
entirely  by  the  pride  of  caste  among  the  scavengers,  who  are 
all  of  the  lowest  class.  The  right  of  sweeping  within  a  certain 
range  is  recognized  by  the  caste  to  belong  to  a  certain  member; 
and  if  any  other  member  presumes  to  sweep  within  that  range, 
he  is  excommunicated — no  other  member  will  smoke  out  of  his 
pipe  or  drink  out  of  his  jug;  and  he  can  get  restored  to  caste 
only  by  a  feast  to  the  whole  body  of  sweepers.  If  any  house- 
keeper within  a  particular  circle  happens  to  offend  the  sweeper 
of  that  range,  none  of  his  filth  will  be  removed  until  he  pacifies 
him,  because  no  other  sweeper  will  dare  to  touch  it;  and  the 
people  of  a  town  are  often  more  tyrannized  over  by  these  people 
than  by  any  other. 

142 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

A  footnote  by  Major  Sleeman's  editor,  Mr.  Vin- 
cent Arthur  Smith,  says  that  in  our  day  this  tyranny 
of  the  sweepers'  guild  is  one  of  the  many  difficulties 
which  bar  the  progress  of  Indian  sanitary  reform. 
Think  of  this: 

The  sweepers  cannot  be  readily  coerced,  because  no  Hindu 
or  Mussulman  would  do  their  work  to  save  his  Hfe,  nor  will  he 
pollute  himself  by  beating  the  refractory  scavenger. 

They  certainly  do  seem  to  have  the  whip-hand; 
it  would  be  difficult  to  imagine  a  more  impregnable 
position.  "The  vested  rights  described  in  the  text 
are  so  fully  recognized  in  practice  that  they  are  fre- 
quently the  subject  of  sale  or  mortgage.''  Just  like  a 
milk-route;  or  like  a  London  crossing-sweepership. 
It  is  said  that  the  London  crossing-sweeper's  right 
to  his  crossing  is  recognized  by  the  rest  of  the  guild ; 
that  they  protect  him  in  its  possession;  that  certain 
choice  crossings  are  valuable  property,  and  are 
salable  at  high  figures.  I  have  noticed  that  the  man 
who  sweeps  in  front  of  the  Army  and  Navy  Stores 
has  a  wealthy  South  African  aristocratic  style  about 
him;  and  when  he  is  off  his  guard,  he  has  exactly 
that  look  on  his  face  which  you  always  see  in  the 
face  of  a  man  who  is  saving  up  his  daughter  to  marry 
her  to  a  duke. 

It  appears  from  Sleeman  that  in  India  the  occupa- 
tion of  elephant-driver  is  confined  to  Mohammedans. 
I  wonder  why  that  is.  The  water-carrier  (bhecstie) 
is  a  Mohammedan,  but  it  is  said  that  the  reason  of 
that  is,  that  the  Hindu's  religion  does  not  allow 
him  to  touch  the  skin  of  dead  kine,  and  that  is  what 

143 


MARK     TWAIN 

the  water-sack  is  made  of;  it  would  defile  him. 
And  it  doesn't  allow  him  to  eat  meat;  the  animal 
that  furnished  the  meat  was  murdered,  and  to  take 
any  creature's  life  is  a  sin.  It  is  a  good  and  gentle 
religion,  but  inconvenient. 

A  great  Indian  river,  at  low  water,  suggests  the 
familiar  anatomical  picture  of  a  skinned  human 
body,  the  intricate  mesh  of  interwoven  muscles  and 
tendons  to  stand  for  water-channels,  and  the  archi- 
pelagoes of  fat  and  flesh  inclosed  by  them  to  stand 
for  the  sandbars.  Somewhere  on  this  journey  we 
passed  such  a  river,  and  on  a  later  journey  we  saw 
in  the  Sutlej  the  duplicate  of  that  river.  Curious 
rivers  they  are;  low  shores  a  dizzy  distance  apart, 
with  nothing  between  but  an  enormous  acreage  of 
sand-flats  with  sluggish  little  veins  of  water  dribbling 
around  among  them;  Saharas  of  sand,  smaUpox- 
pitted  with  footprints  pimctured  in  belts  as  straight 
as  the  equator  clear  from  the  one  shore  to  the  other 
(barring  the  channel  interruptions) — a  dry-shod 
ferry,  you  see.  Long  railway  bridges  are  required 
for  this  sort  of  rivers  and  India  has  them.  You 
approach  Allahabad  by  a  very  long  one.  It  was 
now  carrying  us  across  the  bed  of  the  Jumna,  a  bed 
which  did  not  seem  to  have  been  slept  in  for  one 
while  or  more.  It  wasn't  all  river-bed — most  of  it 
was  overflow  ground. 

Allahabad  means  ''City  of  God."  I  get  this  from 
the  books.  From  a  printed  curiosity — a  letter  writ- 
ten by  one  of  those  brave  and  confident  Hindu 
strugglers  with  the  English  tongue,  called  a  "babu" 
— I  got  a  more  compressed  translation:   "Godville.'* 

144 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

It  is  perfectly  correct,  but  that  is  the  most  that  can 
be  said  for  it. 

We  arrived  in  the  forenoon,  and  short-handed; 
for  Satan  got  left  behind  somewhere  that  morning, 
and  did  not  overtake  us  until  after  nightfall.  It 
seemed  very  peaceful  without  him.  The  world 
seemed  asleep  and  dreaming. 

I  did  not  see  the  native  town,  I  think.     I  do  not 
remember  why;  for  an  incident  connects  it  with  the 
Great  Mutiny,   and  that  is  enough  to  make  any 
place  interesting.     But  I  saw  the  English  part  of 
the  city.     It  is  a  town  of  wide  avenues  and  noble 
distances,  and  is  comely  and  alluring,  and  full  of 
suggestions    of    comfort    and    leisure,    and    of    the 
serenity  which  a  good  conscience  buttressed  by  a 
sufficient    bank -account    gives.      The    bungalows 
(dwellings)  stand  well  back  in  the  seclusion  and  pri- 
vacy of  large  inclosed  compounds  (private  grounds, 
as  we  should  say)  and  in  the  shade  and  shelter  of 
trees.     Even  the  photographer  and  the  prosperous 
merchant  ply  their  industries  in  the  elegant  reserve 
of  big  compounds,  and  the  citizens  drive  in  there 
upon  their  business  occasions.     And  not  in  cabs — 
no;    in  the  Indian  cities  cabs  are  for  the  drifting 
stranger ;  all  the  white  citizens  have  private  carriages ; 
and  each   carriage  has   a  flock  of  white-turbaned 
black  footmen  and  drivers  all  over  it.    The  vicinity 
of  a  lecture-hall  looks  like  a  snow-storm,  and  makes 
the  lecturer  feel  like  an  opera.     India  has  many 
names,   and  they  are  correctly  descriptive.      It   is 
the  Land  of  Contradictions,  the  Land  of  Subtlety 
and  Superstition,  the  Land  of  Wealth  and  Poverty, 
ii.-io  145 


MARK     TWAIN 

the  Land  of  Splendor  and  Desolation,  the  Land  of 
Plague  and  Famine,  the  Land  of  the  Thug  and  the 
Poisoner,  and  of  the  Meek  and  the  Patient,  the 
Land  of  the  Suttee,  the  Land  of  the  Unreinstatable 
Widow,  the  Land  where  All  Life  is  Holy,  the  Land 
of  Cremation,  the  Land  where  the  Vulture  is  a 
Grave  and  a  Montiment,  the  Land  of  the  Multitudi- 
nous Gods;  and  if  signs  go  for  anything,  it  is  the 
Land  of  the  Private  Carriage. 

In  Bombay  the  forewoman  of  a  millinery  shop 
came  to  the  hotel  in  her  private  carriage  to  take  the 
measure  for  a  gown — not  for  me,  but  for  another. 
She  had  come  out  to  India  to  make  a  temporary 
stay,  but  was  extending  it  indefinitely;  indeed,  she 
was  purposing  to  end  her  days  there.  In  London, 
she  said,  her  work  had  been  hard,  her  hours  long; 
for  economy's  sake  she  had  had  to  live  in  shabby 
rooms  and  far  away  from  the  shop,  watch  the 
pennies,  deny  herself  many  of  the  common  comforts 
of  life,  restrict  herself  in  effect  to  its  bare  necessities, 
eschew  cabs,  travel  third-class  by  underground  train 
to  and  from  her  work,  swallowing  coal-smoke  and 
cinders  all  the  way,  and  sometimes  troubled  with 
the  society  of  men  and  women  who  were  less  desir- 
able than  the  smoke  and  the  cinders.  But  in  Bom- 
bay, on  almost  any  kind  of  wages,  she  could  live  in 
comfort,  and  keep  her  carriage,  and  have  six  servants 
in  place  of  the  woman-of -all-work  she  had  had  in 
her  EngHsh  home.  Later,  in  Calcutta,  I  found  that 
the  Standard  Oil  clerks  had  small  one-horse  ve- 
hicles, and  did  no  walking ;  and  I  was  told  that 
the  clerks  of   the   other  large  concerns  there  had 

146 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

the    like    equipment.     But    to    return    to    Allaha- 
bad. 

I  was  up  at  dawn,  the  next  morning.  In  India 
the  tourist's  servant  does  not  sleep  in  a  room  in  the 
hotel,  but  rolls  himself  up  head  and  ears  in  his 
blanket  and  stretches  himself  on  the  veranda,  across 
the  front  of  his  master's  door,  and  spends  the  night 
there.  I  don't  believe  anybody's  servant  occupies  a 
room.  Apparently,  the  bungalow  servants  sleep  on 
the  veranda;  it  is  roomy,  and  goes  all  around  the 
house.  I  speak  of  men-servants;  I  saw  none  of  the 
other  sex.  I  think  there  are  none,  except  child- 
nurses.  I  was  up  at  dawn,  and  walked  around  the 
veranda,  past  the  rows  of  sleepers.  In  front  of  one 
door  a  Hindu  servant  was  squatting,  waiting  for 
his  master  to  call  him.  He  had  polished  the  yeUow 
shoes  and  placed  them  by  the  door,  and  now  he 
had  nothing  to  do  but  wait.  It  was  freezing  cold, 
but  there  he  was,  as  motionless  as  a  sculptured 
image,  and  as  patient.  It  troubled  me.  I  wanted 
to  say  to  him,  **  Don't  crouch  there  like  that  and 
freeze;  nobody  requires  it  of  you;  stir  aroimd  and 
get  warm."  But  I  hadn't  the  words.  I  thought  of 
saying  jeldy  jow,  but  I  couldn't  remember  what  it 
meant,  so  I  didn't  say  it.  I  knew  another  phrase, 
but  it  wouldn't  come  to  my  mind.  I  moved  on, 
purposing  to  dismiss  him  from  my  thoughts,  but  his 
bare  legs  and  bare  feet  kept  him  there.  They  kept 
drawing  me  back  from  the  sunny  side  to  a  point 
whence  I  could  see  him.  At  the  end  of  an  hour  he 
had  not  changed  his  attitude  in  the  least  degree.  It 
was  a  curious  and  impressive  exhibition  of  meekness 

147 


MARK    TWAIN 

•  •I-.... 

and  patience,  or  fortitude,  or  indifference,  I  did  not 
know  which.  But  it  worried  me,  and  it  was  spoiling 
my  morning.  In  fact,  it  spoiled  two  hours  of  it 
quite  thoroughly.  I  quitted  this  vicinity,  then,  and 
left  him  to  punish  himself  as  much  as  he  might 
want  to.  But  up  to  that  time  the  man  had  not 
changed  his  attitude  a  hair.  He  will  always  remain 
with  me,  I  suppose;  his  figure  never  grows  vague 
in  my  memory.  Whenever  I  read  of  Indian  resig- 
nation, Indian  patience  imder  wrongs,  hardships, 
and  misfortunes,  he  comes  before  me.  He  becomes 
a  personification,  and  stands  for  India  in  trouble. 
And  for  untold  ages  India  in  trouble  has  been  pur- 
sued with  the  very  remark  which  I  was  going  to 
utter  but  didn't,  because  its  meaning  had  sHpped 
me:  Jeldy  jowl  ("Come,  shove  along!")  Why,  it 
was  the  very  thing. 

In  the  early  brightness  we  made  a  long  drive  out 
to  the  Fort.  Part  of  the  way  was  beautiful.  It  led 
tmder  stately  trees  and  through  groups  of  native 
houses  and  by  the  usual  village  well,  where  the 
picturesque  gangs  are  always  flocking  to  and  fro  and 
laughing  and  chattering;  and  this  time  brawny  men 
were  deluging  their  bronze  bodies  with  the  limpid 
water,  and  making  a  refreshing  and  enticing  show 
of  it;  enticing,  for  the  sim  was  already  transacting 
business,  firing  India  up  for  the  day.  There  was 
plenty  of  this  early  bathing  going  on,  for  it  was  get- 
ting toward  breakfast-time,  and  with  an  unpurified 
body  the  Hindu  must  not  eat. 

Then  we  struck  into  the  hot  plain,  and  found  the 
roads  crowded  with  pilgrims  of  both  sexes,  for  one 

148 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

of  the  great  religious  fairs  of  India  was  being  held, 
just  beyond  the  Fort,  at  the  junction  of  the  sacred 
rivers,  the  Ganges  and  the  Jumna.  Three  sacred 
rivers,  I  should  have  said,  for  there  is  a  subterranean 
one.  Nobody  has  seen  it,  but  that  doesn't  signify. 
The  fact  that  it  is  there  is  enough.  These  pilgrims 
had  come  from  all  over  India;  some  of  them  had 
been  months  on  the  way,  plodding  patiently  along 
in  the  heat  and  dust,  worn,  poor,  hungry,  but  sup- 
ported and  sustained  by  an  unwavering  faith  and 
belief;  they  were  supremely  happy  and  content, 
now;  their  full  and  sufficient  reward  was  at  hand; 
they  were  going  to  be  cleansed  from  every  vestige 
of  sin  and  corruption  by  these  holy  waters  which 
make  utterly  piu*e  whatsoever  thing  they  touch,  even 
the  dead  and  rotten.  It  is  wonderful,  the  power  of 
a  faith  like  that,  that  can  make  multitudes  upon 
multitudes  of  the  old  and  weak  and  the  young  and 
frail  enter  without  hesitation  or  complaint  upon  such 
incredible  journeys  and  endure  the  resultant  miseries 
without  repining.  It  is  done  in  love,  or  it  is  done 
in  fear;  I  do  not  know  which  it  is.  No  matter 
what  the  impulse  is,  the  act  bom  of  it  is  beyond 
imagination  marvelous  to  our  kind  of  people,  the 
cold  whites.  There  are  choice  great  natures  among 
us  that  could  exhibit  the  equivalent  of  this  prodigious 
self-sacrifice,  but  the  rest  of  us  know  that  we  should 
not  be  equal  to  anything  approaching  it.  Still,  we 
all  talk  self-sacrifice,  and  this  makes  me  hope  that 
we  are  large  enough  to  honor  it  in  the  Hindu. 

Two  millions  of  natives  arrive  at  this  fair  every 
year.     How  many  start,  and  die  on  the  road,  from 

149 


MARK     TWAIN 

age  and  fatigue  and  disease  and  scanty  nourishment, 
and  how  many  die  on  the  retiun,  from  the  same 
causes,  no  one  knows;  but  the  tale  is  great,  one 
may  say  enormous.  Every  twelfth  year  is  held  to 
be  a  year  of  peculiar  grace;  a  greatly  augmented 
volume  of  pilgrims  results  then.  The  twelfth  year 
has  held  this  distinction  since  the  remotest  times,  it 
is  said.  It  is  said  also  that  there  is  to  be  but  one 
more  twelfth  year — ^for  the  Ganges.  After  that, 
that  holiest  of  all  sacred  rivers  will  cease  to  be  holy, 
and  will  be  abandoned  by  the  pilgrims  for  many 
centuries;  how  many,  the  wise  men  have  not  stated. 
At  the  end  of  that  interval  it  will  become  holy  again. 
Meantime,  the  data  will  be  arranged  by  those  people 
who  have  charge  of  all  such  matters,  the  great  chief 
Brahmans.  It  will  be  like  shutting  down  a  mint. 
At  first  glance  it  looks  most  unbrahmanically  uncom- 
mercial, but  I  am  not  disturbed,  being  soothed  and 
tranquilized  by  their  reputation.  "Brer  fox  he  lay 
low,"  as  Uncle  Remus  says;  and  at  the  judicious 
time  he  will  spring  something  on  the  Indian  public 
which  will  show  that  he  was  not  financially  asleep 
when  he  took  the  Ganges  out  of  the  market. 

Great  numbers  of  the  natives  along  the  roads 
were  bringing  away  holy  water  from  the  rivers. 
They  would  carry  it  far  and  wide  in  India  and  seU 
it.  Tavemier,  the  French  traveler  (seventeenth  cen- 
tury), notes  that  Ganges  water  is  often  given  at 
weddings,  "each  guest  receiving  a  cup  or  two,  accord- 
ing to  the  liberality  of  the  host;  sometimes  two  or 
three  thousand  rupees'  worth  of  it  is  consumed  at 
a  wedding."  r 

ISO 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

The  Fort  is  a  huge  old  structure,  and  has  had  a 
large  experience  in  religions.  In  its  great  court 
stands  a  monolith  which  was  placed  there  more 
than  two  thousand  years  ago  to  preach  Buddhism  by 
its  pious  inscription;  the  Fort  was  built  three  cen- 
turies ago  by  a  Mohammedan  Emperor — a  resancti- 
fication  of  the  place  in  the  interest  of  that  religion. 
There  is  a  Hindu  temple,  too,  with  subterranean 
ramifications  stocked  with  shrines  and  idols;  and 
now  the  Fort  belongs  to  the  English,  it  contains  a 
Christian  Church.     Insured  in  all  the  companies. 

From  the  lofty  ramparts  one  has  a  fine  view  of 
the  sacred  rivers.  They  join  at  that  point — the 
pale-blue  Jumna,  apparently  clean  and  clear,  and 
the  muddy  Ganges,  dull  yellow  and  not  clean.  On 
a  long  curved  spit  between  the  rivers,  towns  of  tents 
were  visible,  with  a  multitude  of  fluttering  pennons, 
and  a  mighty  swarm  of  pilgrims.  It  was  a  trouble- 
some place  to  get  down  to,  and  not  a  quiet  place 
when  you  arrived;  but  it  was  interesting.  There 
was  a  world  of  activity  and  turmoil  and  noise,  partly 
religious,  partly  commercial ;  for  the  Mohammedans 
were  there  tq  curse  and  sell,  and  the  Hindus  to  buy 
and  pray.  It  is  a  fair  as  well  as  a  religious  festival. 
Crowds  were  bathing,  praying,  and  drinking  the 
purifying  waters,  and  many  sick  pilgrims  had  come 
long  journeys  in  palanquins  to  be  healed  of  their 
maladies  by  a  bath ;  or  if  that  might  not  be,  then  to 
die  on  the  blessed  banks  and  so  make  sure  of  heaven. 
There  were  fakirs  in  plenty,  with  their  bodies 
dusted  over  with  ashes  and  their  long  hair  caked 
together  with  cow-dung;  for  the  cow  is  holy  and  so 

151 


MARK     TWAIN 

is  the  rest  of  it;  so  holy  that  the  good  Hindu 
peasant  frescoes  the  walls  of  his  hut  with  this  refuse, 
and  also  constructs  ornamental  figures  out  of  it  for 
the  gracing  of  his  dirt  floor.  There  were  seated 
families,  fearfully  and  wonderfully  painted,  who  by 
attitude  and  grouping  represented  the  famiHes  of 
certain  great  gods.  There  was  a  holy  man  who  sat 
naked  by  the  day  and  by  the  week  on  a  cluster 
of  iron  spikes,  and  did  not  seem  to  mind  it;  and 
another  holy  man,  who  stood  all  day  holding  his 
withered  arms  motionless  aloft,  and  was  said  to 
have  been  doing  it  for  years.  All  of  these  performers 
have  a  cloth  on  the  ground  beside  them  for  the  recep- 
tion of  contributions,  and  even  the  poorest  of  the 
people  give  a  trifle  and  hope  that  the  sacrifice  will 
be  blessed  to  him.  At  last  came  a  procession  of 
naked  holy  people  marching  by  and  chanting,  and 
I  wrenched  myself  away. 


CHAPTER  XIV 

BAFFLING   HINDU   THEOLOGY 

The  man  who  is  ostentatious  of  his  modesty  is  twin  to  the  statae  that 
a  fig-kaf. — Ptidd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

THE  journey  to  Benares  was  all  in  daylight,  and 
occupied  but  a  few  hours.  It  was  admirably 
dusty.  The  dust  settled  upon  you  in  a  thick  ashy 
layer  and  turned  you  into  a  fakir,  with  nothing 
lacking  to  the  r61e  but  the  cow-manure  and  the  sense 
of  holiness.  There  was  a  change  of  cars  about  mid- 
afternoon  at  Moghul-serai — if  that  was  the  name — 
and  a  wait  of  two  hours  there  for  the  Benares  train. 
We  could  have  found  a  carriage  and  driven  to  the 
sacred  city,  but  we  should  have  lost  the  wait.  In 
other  countries  a  long  wait  at  a  station  is  a  dull  thing 
and  tedious,  but  one  has  no  right  to  have  that  feel- 
ing in  India.  You  have  the  monster  crowd  of  be- 
jeweled  natives,  the  stir,  the  bustle,  the  confusion, 
the  shifting  splendors  of  the  costumes — dear  me, 
the  delight  of  it,  the  charm  of  it  are  beyond  speech. 
The  two-hour  wait  was  over  too  soon.  Among 
other  satisfying  things  to  look  at  was  a  minor  native 
prince  from  the  backwoods  somewhere,  with  his 
guard  of  honor,  a  ragged  but  wonderfully  gaudy 
gang  of  fifty  dark  barbarians  armed  with  rusty  flint- 
lock muskets.  The  general  show  came  so  near  to 
exhausting  variety  that  one  would  have  said  that  no 

153 


MARK     TWAIN 

addition  to  it  could  be  conspicuous,  but  when  this 
Falstaif  and  his  motleys  marched  through  it  one  saw 
that  that  seeming  impossibility  had  happened. 

We  got  away  by  and  by,  and  soon  reached  the 
outer  edge  of  Benares ;  then  there  was  another  wait ; 
but,  as  usual,  with  something  to  look  at.  This  was 
a  cluster  of  little  canvas-boxes — palanquins.  A 
canvas-box  is  not  much  of  a  sight — when  empty; 
but  when  there  is  a  lady  in  it,  it  is  an  object  of 
interest.  These  boxes  were  grouped  apart,  in  the 
full  blaze  of  the  terrible  sun,  during  the  three- 
quarters  of  an  hour  that  we  tarried  there.  They 
contained  zenana  ladies.  They  had  to  sit  up;  there 
was  not  room  enough  to  stretch  out.  They  prob- 
ably did  not  mind  it.  They  are  used  to  the  close 
captivity  of  their  dwellings  all  their  lives ;  when  they 
go  a  journey  they  are  carried  to  the  train  in  these 
boxes;  in  the  train  they  have  to  be  secluded  from 
inspection.  Many  people  pity  them,  and  I  always 
did  it  myself  and  never  charged  anything;  but  it  is 
doubtful  if  this  compassion  is  valued.  While  we 
were  in  India  some  good-hearted  Europeans  in  one 
of  the  cities  proposed  to  restrict  a  large  park  to  the 
use  of  zenana  ladies,  so  that  they  could  go  there 
and  in  assured  privacy  go  about  unveiled  and  enjoy 
the  sunshine  and  air  as  they  had  never  enjoyed  them 
before.  The  good  intentions  back  of  the  proposition 
were  recognized,  and  sincere  thanks  returned  for  it, 
but  the  proposition  itself  met  with  a  prompt  declina- 
tion at  the  hands  of  those  who  were  authorized  to 
speak  for  the  zenana  ladies.  Apparently,  the  idea 
was   shocking  to  the  ladies — indeed,   it  was  quite 

154 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

manifestly  shocking.  Was  that  proposition  the 
equivalent  of  inviting  European  ladies  to  assemble 
scantily  and  scandalously  clothed  in  the  seclusion 
of  a  private  park?    It  seemed  to  be  about  that. 

Without  doubt  modesty  is  nothing  less  than  a 
holy  feeling;  and  without  doubt  the  person  whose 
rule  of  modesty  has  been  transgressed  feels  the  same 
sort  of  wound  that  he  would  feel  if  something  made 
holy  to  him  by  his  religion  had  suffered  a  desecration. 
I  say  "rule  of  modesty"  because  there  are  about  a 
million  rules  in  the  world,  and  this  makes  a  million 
standards  to  be  looked  out  for.  Major  Sleeman  men- 
tions the  case  of  some  high-caste  veiled  ladies  who 
were  profoundly  scandalized  when  some  English 
young  ladies  passed  by  with  faces  bare  to  the  world ; 
so  scandalized  that  they  spoke  out  with  strong 
indignation  and  wondered  that  people  could  be  so 
shameless  as  to  expose  their  persons  like  that.  And 
yet  ''the  legs  of  the  objectors  were  naked  to  mid- 
thigh."  Both  parties  were  clean-minded  and  irre- 
proachably modest,  while  abiding  by  their  separate 
rules,  but  they  couldn't  have  traded  rules  for  a 
change  without  suffering  considerable  discomfort. 
All  himian  rules  are  more  or  less  idiotic,  I  suppose. 
It  is  best  so,  no  doubt.  The  way  it  is  now,  the 
asylums  can  hold  the  sane  people,  but  if  we  tried  to 
shut  up  the  insane  we  should  run  out  of  building 
materials. 

You  have  a  long  drive  through  the  outskirts  of 
Benares  before  you  get  to  the  hotel.  And  all  the 
aspects  are  melancholy.  It  is  a  vision  of  dusty 
sterility,  decaying  temples,  crumbling  tombs,  broken 

155 


MARK     TWAIN 

mud  walls,  shabby  huts.  The  whole  region  seems 
to  ache  with  age  and  penury.  It  must  take  ten 
thousand  years  of  want  to  produce  such  an  aspect. 
We  were  still  outside  of  the  great  native  city  when 
we  reached  the  hotel.  It  was  a  quiet  and  homelike 
house,  inviting,  and  manifestly  comfortable.  But 
we  liked  its  annex  better,  and  went  thither.  It  was 
a  mile  away,  perhaps,  and  stood  in  the  midst  of  a 
large  compound,  and  was  built  bungalow  fashion, 
everything  on  the  ground  floor,  and  a  veranda  all 
around.  They  have  doors  in  India,  but  I  don't 
know  why.  They  don't  fasten,  and  they  stand 
open,  as  a  rule,  with  a  curtain  hanging  in  the  door- 
space  to  keep  out  the  glare  of  the  sun.  Still,  there 
is  plenty  of  privacy,  for  no  white  person  will  come 
in  without  notice,  of  course.  The  native  men-ser- 
vants will,  but  they  don't  seem  to  count.  They 
glide  in,  barefoot  and  noiseless,  and  are  in  the  midst 
before  one  knows  it.  At  first  this  is  a  shock,  and 
sometimes  it  is  an  embarrassment;  but  one  has  to 
get  used  to  it,  and  does. 

There  was  one  tree  in  the  compound,  and  a  mon- 
key lived  in  it.  At  first  I  was  strongly  interested 
in  the  tree,  for  I  was  told  that  it  was  the  renowned 
peepul — the  tree  in  whose  shadow  you  cannot  tell  a 
lie.  This  one  failed  to  stand  the  test,  and  I  went 
away  from  it  disappointed.  There  was  a  softly 
creaking  well  close  by,  and  a  couple  of  oxen  drew 
water  from  it  by  the  hour,  superintended  by  two 
natives  dressed  in  the  usual  "turban  and  pocket 
handkerchief."  The  tree  and  the  well  were  the  only 
scenery,  and  so  the  compound  was  a  soothing  and 

156 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

lonesome  and  satisfying  place;  and  very  restful 
after  so  many  activities.  There  was  nobody  in  our 
bungalow  but  ourselves;  the  other  guests  were  in 
the  next  one,  where  the  table  d'hote  was  furnished. 
A  body  could  not  be  more  pleasantly  situated. 
Each  room  had  the  customary  bath  attached — a 
room  ten  or  twelve  ieet  square,  with  a  roomy  stone- 
paved  pit  in  it  and  abundance  of  water.  One  could 
not  easily  improve  upon  this  arrangement,  except 
by  furnishing  it  with  cold  water  and  excluding  the 
hot,  in  deference  to  the  fervency  of  the  climate ;  but 
that  is  forbidden.  It  would  damage  the  bather's 
health.  The  stranger  is  warned  against  taking  cold 
baths  in  India,  but  even  the  most  intelligent  strangers 
are  fools,  and  they  do  not  obey,  and  so  they  pres- 
ently get  laid  up.  I  was  the  most  intelligent  fool 
that  passed  through,  that  year.  But  I  am  still  more 
intelligent  now.     Now  that  it  is  too  late. 

I  wonder  if  the  dorian,  if  that  is  the  name  of  it,  is 
another  superstition,  like  the  peepul  tree.  There 
was  a  great  abundance  and  variety  of  tropical  fruits, 
but  the  dorian  was  never  in  evidence.  It  was  never 
the  season  for  the  dorian.  It  was  always  going  to 
arrive  from  Burma  some  time  or  other,  but  it  never 
did.  By  all  accounts,  it  was  a  most  strange  fruit, 
and  incomparably  delicious  to  the  taste,  but  not  to 
the  smell.  Its  rind  was  said  to  exude  a  stench  of 
so  atrocious  a  nature  that  when  a  dorian  was  in  the 
room  even  the  presence  of  a  polecat  was  a  refresh- 
ment. We  found  many  who  had  eaten  the  dorian, 
and  they  all  spoke  of  it  with  a  sort  of  rapture. 
They  said  that  if  you  could  hold  your  nose  until 

157 


MARK     TWAIN 

the  fniit  was  in  your  mouth  a  sacred  joy  would 
suffuse  you  from  head  to  foot  that  would  make 
you  oblivious  to  the  smell  of  the  rind,  but  that  if 
your  grip  slipped  and  you  caught  the  smell  of  the 
rind  before  the  fruit  was  in  your  mouth,  you  would 
faint.  There  is  a  for  time  in  that  rind.  Some  day 
somebody  will  import  it  into  Europe  and  sell  it  for 
cheese. 

Benares  was  not  a  disappointment.  It  justified 
its  reputation  as  a  curiosity.  It  is  on  high  groimd, 
and  overhangs  a  grand  curve  of  the  Ganges.  It  is  a 
vast  mass  of  building,  compactly  crusting  a  hill,  and 
is  cloven  in  all  directions  by  an  intricate  confusion 
of  cracks  which  stand  for  streets.  Tall,  slim  min- 
arets and  befiagged  temple-spires  rise  out  of  it  and 
give  it  picturesqueness,  viewed  from  the  river.  The 
city  is  as  busy  as  an  anthill,  and  the  hurly-burly  of 
human  life  swarming  along  the  web  of  narrow  streets 
reminds  one  of  the  ants.  The  sacred  cow  swarms 
along,  too,  and  goes  whither  she  pleases,  and  takes 
toll  of  the  grain-shops,  and  is  very  much  in  the  way, 
and  is  a  good  deal  of  a  nuisance,  since  she  must  not 
be  molested. 

Benares  is  older  than  history,  older  than  tradition, 
older  even  than  legend,  and  looks  twice  as  old  as  all 
of  them  put  together.  From  a  Hindu  statement 
quoted  in  Rev.  Mr.  JParker's  compact  and  lucid 
Guide  to  Benares,  I  find  that  the  site  of  the  town 
was  the  beginning-place  of  the  Creation.  It  was 
merely  an  upright  "lingam,"  at  first,  no  larger  than 
a  stovepipe,  and  stood  in  the  midst  of  a  shoreless 
ocean.     This   was   the   work   of   the   God   Vishnu. 

158 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

Later  he  spread  the  lingam  out  till  its  surface  was 
ten  miles  across.  Still  it  was  not  large  enough  for 
the  business;  therefore  he  presently  built  the  globe 
around  it.  Benares  is  thus  the  center  of  the  earth. 
This  is  considered  an  advantage. 

It  has  had  a  tumultuous  history,  both  materially 
and  spiritually.  It  started  Brahmanically,  many  ages 
ago;  then  by  and  by  Buddha  came  in  recent  times 
twenty -five  hundred  years  ago,  and  after  that  it  was 
Buddhist  during  many  centuries — twelve,  perhaps — 
but  the  Brahmans  got  the  upper  hand  again,  then, 
and  have  held  it  ever  since.  It  is  unspeakably  sacred 
in  Hindu  eyes,  and  is  as  unsanitary  as  it  is  sacred, 
and  smells  like  the  rind  of  the  dorian.  It  is  the  head- 
quarters of  the  Brahman  faith,  and  one-eighth  of  the 
population  are  priests  of  that  church.  But  it  is  not 
an  overstock,  for  they  have  all  India  as  a  prey.  All 
India  flocks  thither  on  pilgrimage,  and  pours  its 
savings  into  the  pockets  of  the  priests  in  a  generous 
stream,  which  never  fails.  A  priest  with  a  good 
stand  on  the  shore  of  the  Ganges  is  much  better  off 
than  the  sweeper  of  the  best  crossing  in  London. 
A  good  stand  is  worth  a  world  of  money.  The 
holy  proprietor  of  it  sits  under  his  grand  spectacular 
umbrella  and  blesses  people  all  his  life,  and  collects 
his  commission,  and  grows  fat  and  rich;  and  the 
stand  passes  from  father  to  son,  down  and  down 
and  down  through  the  ages,  and  remains  a  permanent 
and  lucrative  estate  in  the  family.  As  Mr.  Parker 
suggests,  it  can  become  a  subject  of  dispute,  at  one 
time  or  another,  and  then  the  matter  will  be  settled, 
not  by  prayer  and  fasting  and  consultations  with 

159 


MARK     TWAIN 

Vishnu,  but  by  the  intervention  of  a  much  more 
puissant  power — an  EngHsh  court.  In  Bombay  I 
was  told  by  an  American  missionary  that  in  India 
there  are  640  Protestant  missionaries  at  work.  At 
first  it  seemed  an  immense  force,  but  of  course  that 
was  a  thoughtless  idea.  One  missionary  to  500,000 
natives — no,  that  is  not  a  force;  it  is  the  reverse  of 
it;  640  marching  against  an  intrenched  camp  of 
300,000,000 — the  odds  are  too  great.  A  force  of 
640  in  Benares  alone  would  have  its  hands  overfull 
with  8,000  Brahman  priests  for  adversary.  Mission- 
aries need  to  be  well  equipped  with  hope  and  confi- 
dence, and  this  equipment  they  seem  to  have  always 
had  in  all  parts  of  the  world.  Mr.  Parker  has  it. 
It  enables  him  to  get  a  favorable  outlook  out  of 
statistics  which  might  add  up  differently  with  other 
mathematicians.    For  instance : 

"During  the  past  few  years  competent  observers 
declare  that  the  number  of  pilgrims  to  Benares  has 
increased." 

And  then  he  adds  up  this  fact  and  gets  this  con- 
clusion : 

''But  the  revival,  if  so  it  may  be  called,  has  in  it 
the  marks  of  death.  It  is  a  spasmodic  struggle  be- 
fore dissolution." 

In  this  world  we  have  seen  the  Roman  Catholic 
power  dying,  upon  these  same  terms,  for  many 
centuries.  Many  a  time  we  have  gotten  all  ready 
for  the  funeral  and  found  it  postponed  again,  on 
account  of  the  weather  or  something.  Taught  by 
experience,  we  ought  not  to  put  on  our  things  for 
this  Brahmanical  one  till  we  see  the  procession  move. 

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FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

Apparently  one  of  the  most  uncertain  things  in  the 
world  is  the  funeral  of  a  religion. 

I  should  have  been  glad  to  acquire  some  sort  of 
idea  of   Hindu  theology,  but   the   difficulties  were 
too  great,  the  matter  was  too  intricate.     Even  the 
mere  A  B  C  of  it  is  baffling.     There  is  a  trinity- 
Brahma,  Shiva,   and  Vishnu— independent  powers, 
apparently,   though  one  cannot  feel  quite  sure  of 
that,  because  in  one  of  the  temples  there  is  an  image 
where  an  attempt  has  been  made  to  concentrate 
the  three  in  one  person.    The  three  have  other  names 
and  plenty  of  them,  and  this  makes  confusion  in 
one's  mind.     The  three  have  wives  and  the  wives 
have  several  names,  and  this  increases  the  confusion. 
There  are  children,  the  children  have  many  names, 
and  thus  the  confusion  goes  on  and  on.     It  is  not 
worth  while  to  try  to  get  any  grip  upon  the  cloud 
of  minor  gods,  there  are  too  many  of  them. 

It  is  even  a  justifiable  economy  to  leave  Brahma, 
the  chiefest  god  of  all,  out  of  your  studies,  for  he 
seems  to  cut  no  great  figure  in  India.  The  vast 
bulk  of  the  national  worship  is  lavished  upon  Shiva 
and  Vishnu  and  their  families.  Shiva's  symbol — 
the  "lingam"  with  which  Vishnu  began  the  Crea- 
tion— is  worshiped  by  everybody,  apparently.  It 
is  the  commonest  object  in  Benares.  It  is  on  view 
everywhere,  it  is  garlanded  with  flowers,  offerings 
are  made  to  it,  it  suffers  no  neglect.  Commonly  it 
is  an  upright  stone,  shaped  like  a  thimble — some- 
times like  an  elongated  thimble.  This  priapus-wor- 
ship,  then,  is  older  than  history.  Mr.  Parker  says  that 
the  lingams  in  Benares  ''outnumber  the  inhabitants.'' 
u.—ii  i6i 


MARK     TWAIN 

In  Benares  there  are  many  Mohammedan  mosques. 
There  are  Hindu  temples  without  number — these 
quaintly  shaped  and  elaborately  sculptured  little 
stone  jugs  crowd  all  the  lanes.  The  Ganges  itself 
and  ever}'  individual  drop  of  water  in  it  are  temples. 
Religion,  then,  is  the  business  of  Benares,  just  as 
gold-production  is  the  business  of  Johannesburg. 
Other  industries  count  for  nothing  as  compared  with 
the  vast  and  all-absorbing  rush  and  drive  and  boom 
of  the  town's  specialty.  Benares  is  the  sacredest  of 
sacred  cities.  The  moment  you  step  across  the 
sharply  defined  line  which  separates  it  from  the  rest 
of  the  globe,  you  stand  upon  ineffably  and  unspeak- 
ably holy  ground.  Mr.  Parker  says:  "It  is  impos- 
sible to  convey  any  adequate  idea  of  the  intense 
feelings  of  veneration  and  affection  with  which  the 
pious  Hindu  regards  'Holy  Kashi'  (Benares)."  And 
then  he  gives  you  this  vivid  and  moving  picture : 

Let  a  Hindu  regiment  be  marched  through  the  district,  and 
as  soon  as  they  cross  the  line  and  enter  the  limits  of  the  holy- 
place  they  rend  the  air  with  cries  of  "  Kashi  ji  ki  jai — ^jai !"  (Holy 
Kashi!  Hail  to  thee!  Hail!  Hail!  Hail!)  The  wear>^  pilgrim, 
scarcely  able  to  stand  with  age  and  weakness,  blinded  by  the 
dust  and  heat,  and  almost  dead  with  fatigue,  crawls  out  of  the 
ovenlike  railway-carriage,  and  as  soon  as  his  feet  touch  the 
ground  he  lifts  up  his  withered  hands  and  utters  the  same  pious 
exclamation.  Let  a  Em-opean  in  some  distant  city  in  casual  talk 
in  the  bazar  mention  the  fact  that  he  has  Uved  at  Benares, 
and  at  once  voices  will  be  raised  to  call  down  blessings  on  his 
head,  for  a  dweller  in  Benares  is  of  all  men  most  blessed. 

It  makes  our  own  religious  enthusiasm  seem  pale  and 
cold.  Inasmuch  as  the  life  of  religion  is  in  the  heart ,  not 
the  head,  Mr.  Parker's  touching  picture  seems  to  prom- 
ise a  sort  of  indefinite  postponement  of  that  funeral. 


CHAPTER  XV 

HOW  TO   MAKE   SALVATION   SURE 

Let  me  make  the  superstitions  of  a  nation  and  I  care  not  who  makes  its  laws 
or  Its  songs  either. — Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

YES,  the  city  of  Benares  is  in  effect  just  a  big 
church,  a  reHgious  hive,  whose  every  cell  is  a 
temple,  a  shrine,  or  a  mosque,  and  whose  ever>- 
conceivable  earthly  and  heavenly  good  is  procurable 
under  one  roof,  so  to  speak — a  sort  of  Army  and 
Navy  Stores,  theologically  stocked. 

I  will  make  out  a  Httle  itinerary  for  the  pilgrim; 
then  you  will  see  how  handy  the  system  is,  how 
convenient,  how  comprehensive.  If  you  go  to 
Benares  with  a  serious  desire  to  spiritually  benefit 
yourself,  you  will  find  it  valuable.  I  got  some  of 
the  facts  from  conversations  \\dth  the  Rev.  Mr. 
Parker  and  the  others  from  his  Guide  to  Benares; 
they  are  therefore  trustworthy. 

1.  Purification.  At  sunrise  you  must  go  down  to 
the  Ganges  and  bathe,  pray,  and  drink  some  of  the 
water.    This  is  for  your  general  purification. 

2.  Protection  against  Hunger.  Next,  you  must 
fortify  yourself  against  the  sorrowful  earthly  ill  just 
named.  This  you  will  do  by  worshiping  for  a  mo- 
ment in  the  Cow  Temple.  By  the  door  of  it  you 
will  find  an  image  of  Ganesh,  son  of  Shiva;  it  has 
the  head  of  an  elephant  on  a  human  body;  its  face 

163 


MARK     TWAIN 

and  hands  are  of  silver.  You  will  worship  it  a  little, 
and  pass  on,  into  a  covered  veranda,  where  you  will 
find  devotees  reciting  from  the  sacred  books,  with 
the  help  of  instructors.  In  this  place  are  groups  of 
rude  and  dismal  idols.  You  may  contribute  some- 
thing for  their  support;  then  pass  into  the  temple, 
a  grim  and  stenchy  place,  for  it  is  populous  with 
sacred  cows  and  with  beggars.  You  will  give  some- 
thing to  the  beggars,  and  ''reverently  kiss  the  tails" 
of  such  cows  as  pass  along,  for  these  cows  are 
peculiarly  holy,  and  this  act  of  worship  will  secure 
you  from  hunger  for  the  day. 

3.  ''The  Poor  Man's  Friend^  You  will  next 
worship  this  god.  He  is  at  the  bottom  of  a  stone 
cistern  in  the  temple  of  Dalbhyeswar,  under  the 
shade  of  a  noble  peepul  tree  on  the  bluff  overlooking 
the  Ganges,  so  you  must  go  back  to  the  river. 
The  Poor  Man's  Friend  is  the  god  of  material  pros- 
perity in  general,  and  the  god  of  the  rain  in  particular. 
You  will  seciu"e  material  prosperity,  or  both,  by 
worshiping  him.  He  is  Shiva,  under  a  new  alias, 
and  he  abides  in  the  bottom  of  that  cistern  in  the 
form  of  a  stone  lingam.  You  pour  Ganges  water  over 
him  and  in  return  for  this  homage  you  get  the 
promised  benefits.  If  there  is  any  delay  about  the 
rain  you  must  pour  water  in  until  the  cistern  is 
fuU;  the  rain  will  then  be  sure  to  come. 

4.  Fever.  At  the  Kedar  Ghat  you  will  find  a 
long  flight  of  stone  steps  leading  down  to  the  river. 
Half-way  down  is  a  tank  filled  with  sewage.  Drink 
as  much  of  it  as  you  want.    It  is  for  fever. 

5.  Smallpox.    Go  straight  from  there  to  the  cen- 

164 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

tral  Ghat.  At  its  up-stream  end  you  will  find  a  small 
whitewashed  building,  which  is  a  temple  sacred  to 
Sitala,  goddess  of  smallpox.  Her  understudy  is 
there — a  rude  human  figure  behind  a  brass  screen. 
You  will  worship  this  for  reasons  to  be  furnished 
presently. 

6.  The  Well  of  Fate.  For  certain  reasons  you  will 
next  go  and  do  homage  at  this  well.  You  will  find 
it  in  the  Dandpan  Temple,  in  the  city.  The  sunlight 
falls  into  it  from  a  square  hole  in  the  masonry  above. 
You  will  approach  it  with  awe,  for  your  life  is  now 
at  stake.  You  will  bend  over  and  look.  If  the  fates 
are  propitious,  you  will  see  your  face  pictured  in 
the  water  far  down  in  the  well.  If  matters  have 
been  otherwise  ordered,  a  sudden  cloud  will  mask  the 
sun  and  you  will  see  nothing.  This  means  that  you 
have  not  six  months  to  live.  If  you  are  already  at 
the  point  of  death,  your  circumstances  are  now 
serious.  There  is  no  time  to  lose.  Let  this  world 
go,  arrange  for  the  next  one.  Handily  situated,  at 
your  very  elbow,  is  opportunity  for  this.  You  turn 
and  worship  the  image  of  Maha  Kal,  the  Great 
Fate,  and  happiness  in  the  life  to  come  is  secured. 
If  there  is  breath  in  your  body  yet,  you  should  now 
make  an  effort  to  get  a  further  lease  of  the  present 
life.  You  have  a  chance.  There  is  a  chance  for 
everything  in  this  admirably  stocked  and  wonderfully 
systemized  Spiritual  and  Temporal  Army  and  Navy 
Store.    You  must  get  yourself  carried  to  the 

7.  Well  of  Long  Life.  This  is  within  the  precincts 
of  the  moldering  and  venerable  Briddhkal  Temple, 
which  is  one  of  the  oldest  in  Benares.     You  pass  in 

165 


MARK  TWAIN 

by  a  stone  image  of  the  monkey  god,  Hanuman, 
and  there,  among  the  mined  court-yards,  you  will 
find  a  shallow  pool  of  stagnant  sewage.  It  smells 
Hke  the  best  limburgher  cheese,  and  is  filthy  with  the 
washings  of  rotting  lepers,  but  that  is  nothing, 
bathe  in  it;  bathe  in  it  gratefully  and  worshipfully, 
for  this  is  the  Fountain  of  Youth;  these  are  the 
Waters  of  Long  Life.  Your  gray  hairs  will  disappear, 
and  with  them  your  wrinkles  and  your  rheumatism, 
the  burdens  of  care  and  the  weariness  of  age,  and 
you  will  come  out  young,  fresh,  elastic,  and  full  of 
eagerness  for  the  new  race  of  life.  Now  will  come 
flooding  upon  you  the  manifold  desires  that  haunt 
the  dear  dreams  of  the  morning  of  life.  You  will 
go  whither  you  will  find 

8.  Fulfilment  of  Desire.  To  wit,  to  the  Kame- 
shwar  Temple,  sacred  to  Shiva  as  the  Lord  of  De- 
sires. Arrange  for  yours  there.  And  if  you  like  to 
look  at  idols  among  the  pack  and  jam  of  temples, 
there  you  will  find  enough  to  stock  a  museum.  You 
will  begin  to  commit  sins  now  with  a  fresh,  new 
vivacity;  therefore,  it  will  be  well  to  go  frequently 
to  a  place  where  you  can  get 

9.  Temporary  Cleansing  from  Sin.  To  wit,  to  the 
Well  of  the  Earring.  You  must  approach  this  with 
the  profoundest  reverence,  for  it  is  imutterably 
sacred.  It  is,  indeed,  the  most  sacred  place  in 
Benares,  the  very  Holy  of  Holies,  in  the  estimation 
of  the  people.  It  is  a  railed  tank,  with  stone  stair- 
ways leading  down  to  the  water.  The  water  is  not 
clean.  Of  course  it  could  not  be,  for  people  are 
always  bathing  in  it.    As  long  as  you  choose  to  stand 

166 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  look,  you  will  see  the  files  of  sinners  descending 
and  ascending — descending  soiled  with  sin,  ascending 
purged  from  it.  "The  Har,  the  thief,  the  murderer, 
and  the  adulterer  may  here  wash  and  be  clean," 
says  the  Rev.  Mr.  Parker,  in  his  book.  Very  well. 
I  know  Mr.  Parker,  and  I  believe  it;  but  if  anybody 
else  had  said  it,  I  should  consider  him  a  person  who 
had  better  go  down  in  the  tank  and  take  another 
wash.  The  god  Vishnu  dug  this  tank.  He  had 
nothing  to  dig  with  but  his  "discus."  I  do  not  know 
what  a  discus  is,  but  I  know  it  is  a  poor  thing  to 
dig  tanks  with,  because,  by  the  time  this  one  was 
finished,  it  was  full  of  sweat — Vishnu's  sweat.  He 
constructed  the  site  that  Benares  stands  on,  and 
afterward  built  the  globe  around  it,  and  thought 
nothing  of  it,  yet  sweated  like  that  over  a  little 
thing  like  this  tank.  One  of  these  statements  is 
doubtful.  I  do  not  know  which  one  it  is,  but  I  think 
it  difficult  not  to  believe  that  a  god  who  could  build 
a  world  around  Benares  would  not  be  intelligent 
enough  to  build  it  around  the  tank  too,  and  not  have 
to  dig  it.  Youth,  long  life,  temporary  purification 
from  sin,  salvation  through  propitiation  of  the  Great 
Fate — ^these  are  all  good.  But  you  must  do  some- 
thing more.    You  must 

lo.  Make  Salvation  Sure.  There  are  several  ways. 
To  get  drowned  in  the  Ganges  is  one,  but  that  is 
not  pleasant.  To  die  within  the  limits  of  Benares  is 
another;  but  that  is  a  risky  one,  because  you  might 
be  out  of  town  when  your  time  came.  The  best 
one  of  all  is  the  Pilgrimage  Around  the  City.  You 
must  walk;  also,  you  must  go  barefoot.    The  tramp 

167 


MARK     TWAIN 

is  forty-four  miles,  for  the  road  winds  out  into  the 
country  a  piece,  and  you  will  be  marching  five  or 
six  days.  But  you  will  have  plenty  of  company. 
You  will  move  with  throngs  and  hosts  of  happy 
pilgrims  whose  radiant  costumes  will  make  the 
spectacle  beautiful  and  whose  glad  songs  and  holy 
paeans  of  triumph  will  banish  your  fatigues  and 
cheer  your  spirit;  and  at  intervals  there  will  be 
temples  where  you  may  sleep  and  be  refreshed  with 
food.  The  pilgrimage  completed,  you  have  pur- 
chased salvation,  and  paid  for  it.  But  you  may  not 
get  it  unless  you 

11.  Get  Your  Redemption  Recorded.  You  can  get 
this  done  at  the  Sakhi  Binayak  Temple,  and  it  is 
best  to  do  it,  for  otherwise  you  might  not  be  able 
to  prove  that  you  had  made  the  pilgrimage  in  case 
the  matter  should  some  day  come  to  be  disputed. 
That  temple  is  in  a  lane  back  of  the  Cow  Temple. 
Over  the  door  is  a  red  image  of  Ganesh  of  the  ele- 
phant head,  son  and  heir  of  Shiva,  and  Prince  of 
Wales  to  the  Theological  Monarchy,  so  to  speak. 
Within  is  a  god  whose  office  it  is  to  record  yoiir 
pilgrimage  and  be  responsible  for  you.  You  will 
not  see  him,  but  you  will  see  a  Brahman  who  will 
attend  to  the  matter  and  take  the  money.  If  he 
should  forget  to  collect  the  money,  you  can  remind 
him.  He  knows  that  your  salvation  is  now  seciire, 
but  of  course  you  would  like  to  know  it  yourself. 
You  have  nothing  to  do  but  go  and  pray,  and  pay 
at  the 

12.  Well  of  the  Knowledge  of  Salvation.  It  is 
close  to  the  Golden  Temple.     There  you  will  see, 

i68 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

sculptured  out  of  a  single  piece  of  black  marble,  a 
bull  which  is  much  larger  than  any  Hving  bull  you 
have  ever  seen,  and  yet  is  not  a  good  likeness  after 
all.  And  there  also  you  will  see  a  very  uncommon 
thing— an  image  of  Shiva.  You  have  seen  his 
lingam  fifty  thousand  times  already,  but  this  is  Shiva 
himself,  and  said  to  be  a  good  likeness.  It  has 
three  eyes.  He  is  the  only  god  in  the  firm  that  has 
three.  ''The  well  is  covered  by  a  fine  canopy  of 
stone  supported  by  forty  pillars,"  and  around  it  you 
will  find  what  you  have  already  seen  at  almost  every 
shrine  you  have  visited  in  Benares,  a  mob  of  devout 
and  eager  pilgrims.  The  sacred  water  is  being 
ladled  out  to  them;  with  it  comes  tc  them  the 
knowledge,  clear,  thrilling,  absolute,  that  they  are 
saved;  and  you  can  see  by  their  faces  that  there  is 
one  happiness  in  this  world  which  is  supreme,  and 
to  which  no  other  joy  is  comparable.  You  receive 
your  water,  you  make  your  deposit,  and  now  what 
more  would  you  have?  Gold,  diamonds,  power, 
fame?  All  in  a  single  moment  these  things  have 
withered  to  dirt,  dust,  ashes.  The  world  has  nothing 
to  give  you  now.    For  you  it  is  bankrupt. 

I  do  not  claim  that  the  pilgrims  do  their  acts  of 
worship  in  the  order  and  sequence  above  charted 
out  in  this  Itinerary  of  mine,  but  I  think  logic  sug- 
gests that  they  ought  to  do  so.  Instead  of  a  helter- 
skelter  worship,  we  then  have  a  definite  starting- 
place,  and  a  march  which  carries  the  pilgrim  steadily 
forward  by  reasoned  and  logical  progression  to  a 
definite  goal.  Thus,  his  Ganges  bath  in  the  early 
morning  gives  him  an  appetite;    he  kisses  the  cow- 

169 


MARK     TWAIN 

tails,  and  that  removes  it.  It  is  now  business  hours, 
and  longings  for  material  prosperity  rise  in  his  mind, 
and  he  goes  and  pours  water  over  Shiva's  symbol; 
this  insures  the  prosperity,  but  also  brings  on  a 
rain,  which  gives  him  a  fever.  Then  he  drinks  the 
sewage  at  the  Kedar  Ghat  to  cure  the  fever;  it  cures 
the  fever  but  gives  him  the  smallpox.  He  wishes 
to  know  how  it  is  going  to  turn  out;  he  goes  to  the 
Dandpan  Temple  and  looks  down  the  well.  A 
clouded  sun  shows  him  that  death  is  near.  Logically, 
his  best  course  for  the  present,  since  he  cannot  tell 
at  what  moment  he  may  die,  is  to  seciire  a  happy 
hereafter;  this  he  does,  through  the  agency  of  the 
Great  Fate.  He  is  safe,  now,  for  heaven;  his  next 
move  will  naturally  be  to  keep  out  of  it  as  long  as 
he  can.  Therefore  he  goes  to  the  Briddhkal  Temple 
and  secures  Youth  and  long  life  by  bathing  in  a 
puddle  of  leper-pus  which  would  kill  a  microbe. 
Logically,  Youth  has  re-equipped  him  for  sin  and 
with  a  disposition  to  commit  it;  he  will  naturally 
go  to  the  fane  which  is  consecrated  to  the  Fulfil- 
ment of  Desires,  and  make  arrangements.  Logically, 
he  will  now  go  to  the  Well  of  the  Earring  from  time 
to  time  to  imload  and  freshen  up  for  further  banned 
enjoyments.  But  first  and  last  and  all  the  time  he 
is  human,  and  therefore  in  his  reflective  intervals 
he  will  always  be  speculating  in  "futures."  He  will 
make  the  Great  Pilgrimage  around  the  city  and 
so  make  his  salvation  absolutely  sure;  he  will  also 
have  record  made  of  it,  so  that  it  may  remain 
absolutely  sure  and  not  be  forgotten  or  repudiated 
in  the  confusion  of  the  Final  Settlement.    Logically, 

170 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

also,  he  will  wish  to  have  satisfying  and  tranquiliz- 
ing  personal  knowledge  that  that  salvation  is  secure; 
therefore  he  goes  to  the  Well  of  the  Knowledge  of 
Salvation,  adds  that  completing  detail,  and  then 
goes  about  his  affairs  serene  and  content;  serene 
and  content,  for  he  is  now  royally  endowed  with  an 
advantage  which  no  religion  in  this  world  could  give 
him  but  his  own;  for  henceforth  he  may  commit  as 
many  milHon  sins  as  he  wants  to  and  nothing  can 
come  of  it. 

Thus  the  system,  properly  and  logically  ordered, 
is  neat,   compact,   clearly  defined,   and  covers  the 
whole  ground.     I  desire  to  recommend  it  to  such  as 
find  the  other  systems  too  difficult,  exacting,  and 
irksome  for  the  uses  of  this  fretful  brief  life  of  ours. 
However,    let    me    not    deceive    any    one.      My 
Itinerary  lacks  a  detail.     I  must  put  it  in.     The 
truth  is,  that  after  the  pilgrim  has  faithfully  followed 
the  requirements  of  the  Itinerary  through  to  the  end 
and  has  secured  his  salvation  and  also  the  personal 
knowledge  of  that  fact,   there  is  still  an  accident 
possible  to  him  which  can  annul  the  whole  thing. 
If  he  should  ever  cross  to  the  other  side  of  the 
Ganges  and  get  caught  out  and  die  there  he  would 
at  once  come  to  life  again  in  the  form  of  an  ass. 
Think  of  that,  after  all  this  trouble  and  expense. 
You  see  how  capricious  and  uncertain  salvation  is 
there.     The  Hindu  has  a  childish  and  unreasoning 
aversion  to  being  turned  into  an  ass.     It  is  hard  to 
tell  why.    One  could  properly  expect  an  ass  to  have 
an    aversion  to  being   turned    into  a  Hindu.     One 
could  understand  that  he  could  lose  dignity  by  it; 

171 


MARK    TWAIN 

also  self-respect,  and  nine-tenths  of  his  intelligence. 
But  the  Hindu  changed  into  an  ass  wouldn't  lose 
anything,  unless  you  count  his  religion.  And  he 
would  gain  much — release  from  his  slavery  to  two 
million  gods  and  twenty  million  priests,  fakirs,  holy 
mendicants,  and  other  sacred  bacilli;  he  would 
escape  the  Hindu  hell;  he  would  also  escape  the 
Hindu  heaven.  These  are  advantages  which  the 
Hindu  ought  to  consider;  then  he  would  go  over 
and  die  on  the  other  side. 

Benares  is  a  religious  Vesuvius.  In  its  bowels  the 
theological  forces  have  been  heaving  and  tossing, 
rumbling,  thundering,  and  quaking,  boiling,  and  wel- 
tering and  flaming  and  smoking  for  ages.  But  a 
little  group  of  missionaries  have  taken  post  at  its 
base,  and  they  have  hopes.  There  are  the  Baptist 
Missionary  Society,  the  Church  Missionary  Society, 
the  London  Missionary  Society,  the  Wesley  an  Mis- 
sionary Society,  and  the  Zenana  Bible  and  Medical 
Mission.  They  have  schools,  and  the  principal  work 
seems  to  be  among  the  children.  And  no  doubt 
that  part  of  the  work  prospers  best,  for  grown 
people  everywhere  are  always  likely  to  cling  to  the 
religion  they  were  brought  up  in. 


CHAPTER  XVI 

GANGES,  THE  GREAT  PURIFIER 

WrinUes  should  merely  indicate  where  smiles  have  been. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

IN  one  of  those  Benares  temples  we  saw  a  devotee 
working  for  salvation  in  a  curious  way.  He  had 
a  huge  wad  of  clay  beside  him  and  was  making  it 
up  into  little  wee  gods  no  bigger  than  carpet- tacks. 
He  stuck  a  grain  of  rice  into  each — to  represent 
the  lingam,  I  think.  He  turned  them  out  nimbly, 
for  he  had  had  long  practice  and  had  acquired  great 
facility.  Every  day  he  made  two  thousand  gods, 
then  threw  them  into  the  holy  Ganges.  This  act  of 
homage  brought  him  the  profound  homage  of  the 
pious — also  their  coppers.  He  had  a  sure  living  here, 
and  was  earning  a  high  place  in  the  hereafter. 

The  Ganges  front  is  the  supreme  show-place  of 
Benares.  Its  tall  bluffs  are  solidly  caked  from  water 
to  summit,  along  a  stretch  of  three  miles,  with  a 
splendid  jumble  of  massive  and  picturesque  masonry, 
a  bewildering  and  beautiful  confusion  of  stone  plat- 
forms, temples,  stair-flights,  rich  and  stately  palaces 
— nowhere  a  break,  nowhere  a  glimpse  of  the  bluff 
itself;  all  the  long  face  of  it  is  compactly  walled 
from  sight  by  this  crammed  perspective  of  plat- 
forms, soaring  stairways,  sculptured  temples,  majes- 
tic palaces,  softening  away  into  the  distances;    and 

173 


MARK     TWAIN 

there  is  movement,  motion,  human  life  everywhere, 
and  brilliantly  costumed — streaming  in  rainbows  up 
and  down  the  lofty  stairways,  and  massed  in  meta- 
phorical flower-gardens  on  the  miles  of  great  plat- 
forms at  the  river's  edge. 

All  this  masonry,  all  this  architecture  represents 
piety.  The  palaces  were  built  by  native  princes 
whose  homes,  as  a  rule,  are  far  from  Benares,  but 
who  go  there  from  time  to  time  to  refresh  their  souls 
with  the  sight  and  touch  of  the  Ganges,  the  jiver  of 
their  idolatry.  The  stairways  are  records  of  acts  of 
piety;  the  crowd  of  costly  little  temples  are  tokens 
of  money  spent  by  rich  men  for  present  credit  and 
hope  of  future  reward.  Apparently,  the  rich  Chris- 
tian who  spends  large  sums  upon  his  religion  is  con- 
spicuous with  us,  by  his  rarity,  but  the  rich  Hindu 
who  doesn't  spend  large  sums  upon  his  religion  is 
seemingly  non-existent.  With  us  the  poor  spend 
money  on  their  religion,  but.  they  keep  back  some 
to  live  on.  Apparently,  in  India,  the  poor  bankrupt 
themselves  daily  for  their  religion.  The  rich  Hindu 
can  afford  his  pious  outlays;  he  gets  much  glory  for 
his  spendings,  yet  keeps  back  a  sufficiency  of  his 
income  for  temporal  purposes;  but  the  poor  Hindu 
is  entitled  to  compassion,  for  his  spendings  keep  him 
poor,  yet  get  him  no  glory. 

We  made  the  usual  trip  up  and  down  the  river, 
seated  in  chairs  under  an  awning  on  the  deck  of  the 
usual  commodious  hand-propelled  ark;  made  it  two 
or  three  times,  and  could  have  made  it  with  increas- 
ing interest  and  enjoyment  many  times  more;  for, 
of  course,  the  palaces  and  temples  would  grow  more 

174 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  more  beautiful  every  time  one  saw  them,  for 
that  happens  with  all  such  things;  also,  I  think 
one  would  not  get  tired  of  the  bathers,  nor  their 
costumes,  nor  of  their  ingenuities  in  getting  out  of 
them  and  into  them  again  without  exposing  too 
much  bronze,  nor  of  their  devotional  gesticulations 
and  absorbed  bead- tellings. 

But  I  should  get  tired  of  seeing  them  wash  their 
mouths  with  that  dreadful  water  and  drink  it.  In 
fact,  I  did  get  tired  of  it,  and  very  early,  too.  At 
one  place  where  we  halted  for  a  while,  the  foul  gush 
from  a  sewer  was  making  the  water  turbid  and  murky 
all  around,  and  there  was  a  random  corpse  slopping 
aroimd  in  it  that  had  floated  down  from  up  coimtry. 
Ten  steps  below  that  place  stood  a  crowd  of  men, 
women,  and  comely  young  maidens  waist-deep  in 
the  water — and  they  were  scooping  it  up  in  their 
hands  and  drinking  it.  Faith  can  certainly  do  won- 
ders, and  this  is  an  instance  of  it.  Those  people  were 
not  drinking  that  fearful  stuff  to  assuage  thirst, 
but  in  order  to  purify  their  souls  and  the  interior  of 
their  bodies.  According  to  their  creed,  the  Ganges 
water  makes  everything  pure  that  it  touches — in- 
stantly and  utterly  pure.  The  sewer-water  was  not 
an  offense  to  them,  the  corpse  did  not  revolt  them; 
the  sacred  water  had  touched  both,  and  both  were 
now  snow-pure,  and  could  defile  no  one.  The 
memory  of  that  sight  will  always  stay  by  me;  but 
not  by  request. 

A  word  further  concerning  the  nasty  but  all- 
purifying  Ganges  water.  When  we  went  to  Agra, 
by  and  by,  we  happened  there  just  in  time  to  be  in 

175 


MARK     TWAIN 

at  the  birth  of  a  marvel — a  memorable  scientific 
discovery — the  discovery  that  in  certain  ways  the 
foul  and  derided  Ganges  water  is  the  most  puissant 
purifier  in  the  world!  This  curious  fact,  as  I  have 
said,  had  just  been  added  to  the  treasury  of  modem 
science.  It  had  long  been  noted  as  a  strange  thing 
that  while  Benares  is  often  afflicted  with  the  cholera 
she  does  not  spread  it  beyond  her  borders.  This 
could  not  be  accounted  for.  Mr.  Henkin,  the  scien- 
tist in  the  employ  of  the  government  of  Agra,  con- 
cluded to  examine  the  water.  He  went  to  Benares 
and  made  his  tests.  He  got  water  at  the  mouths 
of  the  sewers  where  they  empty  into  the  river  at 
the  bathing-ghats;  a  cubic  centimeter  of  it  contained 
millions  of  germs;  at  the  end  of  six  hours  they  were 
all  dead.  He  caught  a  floating  corpse,  towed  it  to 
the  shore,  and  from  beside  it  he  dipped  up  water  that 
was  swarming  with  cholera  germs;  at  the  end  of 
six  hours  they  were  all  dead.  He  added  swarm  after 
swarm  of  cholera  germs  to  this  water;  within  the 
six  hours  they  always  died,  to  the  last  sample. 
Repeatedly,  he  took  pure  well-water  which  was 
barren  of  animal  life,  and  put  into  it  a  few  cholera 
germs;  they  always  began  to  propagate  at  once, 
and  always  within  six  hours  they  swarmed — ^and 
were  numerable  by  millions  upon  millions. 

For  ages  and  ages  the  Hindus  have  had  absolute 
faith  that  the  water  of  the  Ganges  was  absolutely 
pure,  could  not  be  defiled  by  any  contact  whatsoever, 
and  infallibly  made  pure  and  clean  whatsoever  thing 
touched  it.  They  still  believe  it,  and  that  is  why 
they  bathe  in  it  and  drink  it,  caring  nothing  for  its 

176 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

seeming  filthiness  and  the  floating  corpses.  The 
Hindus  have  been  laughed  at,  these  many  genera- 
tions, but  the  laughter  will  need  to  modify  itself  a 
little  from  now  on.  How  did  they  find  out  the 
water's  secret  in  those  ancient  ages?  Had  they 
germ-scientists  then?  We  do  not  know.  We  only 
know  that  they  had  a  civilization  long  before  we 
emerged  from  savagery.  But  to  return  to  where  I 
was  before;  I  was  about  to  speak  of  the  burning- 
ghat. 

They  do  not  bum  fakirs — those  revered  mendi- 
cants. They  are  so  holy  that  they  can  get  to  their 
place  without  that  sacrament,  provided  they  be  con- 
signed to  the  consecrating  river.  We  saw  one  car- 
ried to  mid-stream  and  thrown  overboard.  He  was 
sandwiched  between  two  great  slabs  of  stone. 

We  lay  off  the  cremation-ghat  half  an  hour  and 
saw  nine  corpses  burned.  I  should  not  wish  to  see 
any  more  of  it,  unless  I  might  select  the  parties. 
The  mourners  follow  the  bier  through  the  town  and 
down  to  the  ghat;  then  the  bier-bearers  deHver  the 
body  to  some  low-caste  natives — Doms — and  the 
mourners  turn  about  and  go  back  home.  I  heard 
no  crying  and  saw  no  tears,  there  was  no  ceremony 
of  parting.  Apparently,  these  expressions  of  grief 
and  affection  are  reserved  for  the  privacy  of  the 
home.  The  dead  women  came  draped  in  red,  the 
men  in  white.  They  are  laid  in  the  water  at  the 
river's  edge  while  the  pyre  is  being  prepared. 

The  first  subject  was  a  man.  When  the  Doms 
unswathed  him  to  wash  him,  he  proved  to  be  a 
sturdily  built,  well-nourished,  and  handsome  old 
II.— 12  177 


MARK     TWAIN 

gentleman,  with  not  a  sign  about  him  to  suggest 
that  he  had  ever  been  ill.  Dry  wood  was  brought 
and  built  up  into  a  loose  pile;  the  corpse  was  laid 
upon  it  and  covered  over  with  fuel.  Then  a  naked 
holy  man  who  was  sitting  on  high  groimd  a  little 
distance  away  began  to  talk  and  shout  with  great 
energy,  and  he  kept  up  this  noise  right  along.  It 
may  have  been  the  funeral  sermon,  and  probably 
was.  I  forgot  to  say  that  one  of  the  mourners 
remained  behind  when  the  others  went  away.  This 
was  the  dead  man*s  son,  a  boy  of  ten  or  'twelve, 
brown  and  handsome,  grave  and  self-possessed,  and 
clothed  in  flowing  white.  He  was  there  to  bum  his 
father.  He  was  given  a  torch,  and  while  he  slowly 
walked  seven  times  around  the  pyre  the  naked  black 
man  on  the  high  ground  poured  out  his  sermon  more 
clamorously  than  ever.  The  seventh  circuit  com- 
pleted, the  boy  applied  the  torch  at  his  father's 
head,  then  at  his  feet;  the  flames  sprang  briskly  up 
with  a  sharp  crackling  noise,  and  the  lad  went  away. 
Hindus  do  not  want  daughters,  because  their  wed- 
dings make  such  a  ruinous  expense;  but  they  want 
sons,  so  that  at  death  they  may  have  honorable  exit 
from  the  world;  and  there  is  no  honor  equal  to  the 
honor  of  having  one's  pyre  lighted  by  one's  son. 
The  father  who  dies  sonless  is  in  a  grievous  situa- 
tion indeed,  and  is  pitied.  Life  being  uncertain,  the 
Hindu  marries  while  he  is  still  a  boy,  in  the  hope 
that  he  will  have  a  son  ready  when  the  day  of  his 
need  shall  come.  But  if  he  have  no  son,  he  will 
adopt  one.    This  answers  every  purpose. 

Meantime,    the   corpse   is   burning,    also   several 

178 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

others.  It  is  a  dismal  business.  The  stokers  did 
not  sit  down  in  idleness,  but  moved  briskly  about, 
punching  up  the  fires  with  long  poles,  and  now  and 
then  adding  fuel.  Sometimes  they  hoisted  the  half 
of  a  skeleton  into  the  air,  then  slammed  it  down 
and  beat  it  with  the  pole,  breaking  it  up  so  that  it 
would  bum  better.  They  hoisted  skulls  up  in  the 
same  way  and  banged  and  battered  them.  The 
sight  was  hard  to  bear;  it  would  have  been  harder 
if  the  mourners  had  stayed  to  witness  it.  I  had  but 
a  moderate  desire  to  see  a  cremation,  so  it  was  soon 
satisfied.  For  sanitary  reasons  it  would  be  well  if 
cremation  were  universal ;  but  this  form  is  revolting, 
and  not  to  be  recommended. 

The  fire  used  is  sacred,  of  course — for  there  is 
money  in  it.  Ordinary  fire  is  forbidden;  there  is 
no  money  in  it.  I  was  told  that  this  sacred  fire  is 
all  furnished  by  one  person,  and  that  he  has  a 
monopoly  of  it  and  charges  a  good  price  for  it. 
Sometimes  a  rich  mourner  pays  a  thousand  rupees 
for  it.  To  get  to  paradise  from  India  is  an  expensive 
thing.  Every  detail  connected  with  the  matter  costs 
something,  and  helps  to  fatten  a  priest.  I  suppose 
it  is  quite  safe  to  conclude  that  that  fire-bug  is  in 
holy  orders. 

Close  to  the  cremation-ground  stand  a  few  time- 
worn  stones  which  are  remembrances  of  the  Suttee. 
Each  has  a  rough  carving  upon  it,  representing  a  man 
and  a  woman  standing  or  walking  hand  in  hand,  and 
marks  the  spot  where  a  widow  went  to  her  death  by 
fire  in  the  days  when  the  suttee  flourished.  Mr. 
Parker  said  that  widows  would  bum  themselves  now 

179 


MARK     TWAIN 

if  the  government  wotild  allow  it.  The  family  that 
can  point  to  one  of  these  little  memorials  and  say, 
**She  who  burned  herself  there  was  an  ancestress  of 
ours,"  is  envied. 

It  is  a  curious  people.  With  them,  all  life  seems 
to  be  sacred,  except  human  life.  Even  the  life  of 
vermin  is  sacred,  and  must  not  be  taken.  The  good 
Jain  wipes  off  a  seat  before  using  it,  lest  he  cause 
the  death  of  some  valueless  insect  by  sitting  down 
on  it.  It  grieves  him  to  have  to  drink  water,  because 
the  provisions  in  his  stomach  may  not  agree  with 
the  microbes.  Yet  India  invented  Thuggery  and  the 
Suttee.    India  is  a  hard  country  to  understand. 

We  went  to  the  temple  of  the  Thug  goddess, 
Bhowanee,  or  Kali,  or  Durga.  She  has  these  names 
and  others.  She  is  the  only  god  to  whom  living 
sacrifices  are  made.  Goats  are  sacrificed  to  her. 
Monkeys  would  be  cheaper.  There  are  plenty  of 
them  about  the  place.  Being  sacred,  they  make 
themselves  very  free,  and  scramble  around  wherever 
they  please.  The  temple  and  its  porch  are  beautifully 
carved,  but  this  is  not  the  case  with  the  idol.  Bho- 
wanee is  not  pleasant  to  look  at.  She  has  a  silver 
face,  and  tongue  painted  a  deep  red.  She  wears  a 
necklace  of  skulls. 

In  fact,  none  of  the  idols  in  Benares  are  hand- 
some or  attractive.  And  what  a  swarm  of  them  there 
is!  The  town  is  a  vast  museum  of  idols — ^and  all 
of  them  crude,  misshapen,  and  ugly.  They  flock 
through  one's  dreams  at  night,  a  wild  mob  of  night- 
mares. When  you  get  tired  of  them  in  the  temples 
and  take  a  trip  on  the  river,  you  find  idol  giants, 

1 80 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

flashily  painted,  stretched  out  side  by  side  on  the 
shore.  And  apparently  wherever  there  is  room  for 
one  more  lingam,  a  lingam  is  there.  If  Vishnu  had 
foreseen  what  his  town  was  going  to  be,  he  would 
have  called  it  Idolville  or  Lingamburg. 

The  most  conspicuous  feature  of  Benares  is  the 
pair  of  slender  white  minarets  which  tower  like 
masts  from  the  great  Mosque  of  Aurangzeb.  They 
seem  to  be  always  in  sight,  from  everywhere,  those 
airy,  graceful,  inspiring  things.  But  masts  is  not 
the  right  word,  for  masts  have  a  perceptible  taper, 
while  these  minarets  have  not.  They  are  142  feet 
high,  and  only  S}4  feet  in  diameter  at  the  base,  and 
yJ/2  at  the  summit — scarcely  any  taper  at  all. 
These  are  the  proportions  of  a  candle;  and  fair  and 
fairylike  candles  these  are.  Will  be,  anyway,  some 
day,  when  the  Christians  inherit  them  and  top  them 
with  the  electric  light.  There  is  a  great  view  from 
up  there — a  wonderful  view.  A  large  gray  monkey 
was  part  of  it,  and  damaged  it.  A  monkey  has  no 
judgment.  This  one  was  skipping  about  the  upper 
great  heights  of  the  mosque — skipping  across  empty 
yawning  intervals  which  were  almost  too  wide  for 
him,  and  which  he  only  just  barely  cleared,  each 
time,  by  the  skin  of  his  teeth.  He  got  me  so  nervous 
that  I  couldn't  look  at  the  view.  I  couldn't  look 
at  anything  but  him.  Every  time  he  went  sailing 
over  one  of  those  abysses  my  breath  stood  still, 
and  when  he  grabbed  for  the  perch  he  was  going 
for,  I  grabbed  too,  in  sympathy.  And  he  was  per- 
fectly indifferent,  perfectly  unconcerned,  and  I  did 
all  the  panting  myself.     He  came  within  an  ace  of 

181 


MARK     TWAIN 

losing  his  life  a  dozen  times,  and  I  was  so  troubled 
about  him  that  I  would  have  shot  him  if  I  had  had 
anything  to  do  it  with.  But  I  strongly  recommend 
the  view.  There  is  more  monkey  than  view,  and 
there  is  always  going  to  be  more  monkey  while  that 
idiot  survives,  but  what  view  you  get  is  superb.  All 
Benares,  the  river,  and  the  region  round  about  are 
spread  before  you.  Take  a  gun,  and  look  at  the 
view. 

The  next  thing  I  saw  was  more  reposeful.  It 
was  a  new  kind  of  art.  It  was  a  picture  painted  on 
water.  It  was  done  by  a  native.  He  sprinkled  fine 
dust  of  various  colors  on  the  still  surface  of  a  basin 
of  water,  and  out  of  these  sprinklings  a  dainty  and 
pretty  picture  gradually  grew,  a  picture  which  a 
breath  could  destroy.  Somehow  it  was  impressive, 
after  so  much  browsing  among  massive  and  battered 
and  decaying  fanes  that  rest  upon  ruins,  and  those 
ruins  upon  still  other  ruins,  and  those  upon  still 
others  again.  It  was  a  sermon,  an  allegory,  a  symbol 
of  Instability.  Those  creations  in  stone  were  only 
a  kind  of  water  pictures,  after  all. 

A  prominent  episode  in  the  Indian  career  of 
Warren  Hastings  had  Benares  for  its  theater.  Wher- 
ever that  extraordinary  man  set  his  foot,  he  left  his 
mark.  He  came  to  Benares  in  1781  to  collect  a  fine 
of  five  hundred  thousand  pounds  which  he  had  levied 
upon  its  Raja,  Cheit  Singh,  on  behalf  of  the  East 
India  Company.  Hastings  was  a  long  way  from  home 
and  help.  There  were,  probably,  not  a  dozen  Eng- 
lishmen within  reach ;  the  Raja  was  in  his  fort  with 
his  myriads  around  him.     But  no  matter.     From 

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FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

his  little  camp  in  a  neighboring  garden,  Hastings 
sent  a  party  to  arrest  the  sovereign.  He  sent  on  this 
daring  mission  a  couple  of  hundred  native  soldiers — 
sepoys — under  command  of  three  young  English 
lieutenants.  The  Raja  submitted  without  a  word. 
The  incident  Hghts  up  the  Indian  situation  electric- 
ally, and  gives  one  a  vivid  sense  of  the  strides  which 
the  English  had  made  and  the  mastership  they  had 
acquired  in  the  land  since  the  date  of  Clive's  great 
victory.  In  a  quarter  of  a  century,  from  being  no- 
bodies, and  feared  by  none,  they  were  become 
confessed  lords  and  masters,  feared  by  all,  sovereigns 
included,  and  served  by  all,  sovereigns  included.  It 
makes  the  fairy  tales  sound  true.  The  English  had 
not  been  afraid  to  enlist  native  soldiers  to  fight 
against  their  own  people  and  keep  them  obedient. 
And  now  Hastings  was  not  afraid  to  come  away 
out  to  this  remote  place  with  a  handful  of  such 
soldiers  and  send  them  to  arrest  a  native  sovereign. 
The  lieutenants  imprisoned  the  Raja  in  his  own 
fort.  It  was  beautiful,  the  pluckiness  of  it,  the 
impudence  of  it.  The  arrest  enraged  the  Raja's 
people,  and  all  Benares  came  storming  about  the 
place  and  threatening  vengeance.  And  yet,  but  for 
an  accident,  nothing  important  would  have  resulted, 
perhaps.  The  mob  found  out  a  most  strange  thing, 
an  almost  incredible  thing — that  this  handful  of 
soldiers  had  come  on  this  hardy  errand  with  empty 
guns  and  no  ammunition.  This  has  been  attributed 
to  thoughtlessness,  but  it  could  hardly  have  been 
that,  for  in  such  large  emergencies  as  this,  intelligent 
people  do  think.    It  must  have  been  indifference,  an 

183 


MARK     TWAIN 

over-confidence  bom  of  the  proved  submissiveness  of 
the  native  character,  when  confronted  by  even  one  or 
two  stem  Britons  in  their  war-paint.  But,  however 
that  may  be,  it  was  a  fatal  discovery  that  the  mob 
had  made.  They  were  full  of  courage  now,  and 
they  broke  into  the  fort  and  massacred  the  helpless 
soldiers  and  their  officers.  Hastings  escaped  from 
Benares  by  night  and  got  safely  away,  leaving  the 
principality  in  a  state  of  wild  insurrection:  but  he 
was  back  again  within  the  month,  and  quieted  it 
down  in  his  prompt  and  virile  way,  and  took  the 
Raja's  throne  away  from  him  and  gave  it  to 
another  man.  He  was  a  capable  kind  of  person 
was  Warren  Hastings.  This  was  the  only  time  he 
was  ever  out  of  ammunition.  Some  of  his  acts  have 
left  stains  upon  his  name  which  can  never  be  washed 
away,  but  he  saved  to  England  the  Indian  Empire, 
and  that  was  the  best  service  that  was  ever  done  to 
the  Indians  themselves,  those  wretched  heirs  of  a 
hundred  centuries  of  pitiless  oppression  and  abuse. 


CHAPTER  XVn 

MERRYMAKING  IN   THE   TAJ    MAHAL 

True  irreverence  is  disrespect  for  another  man's  god. 

— Pudd'nhead  Wilson's  New  Calendar. 

IT  was  in  Benares  that  I  saw  another  living  god. 
That  makes  two.  I  believe  I  have  seen  most  of 
the  greater  and  lesser  wonders  of  the  world,  but  I 
do  not  remember  that  any  of  them  interested  me  so 
overwhelmingly  as  did  that  pair  of  gods. 

When  I  try  to  account  for  this  effect  I  find  no 
difficulty  about  it.  I  find  that,  as  a  rule,  when  a 
thing  is  a  wonder  to  us  it  is  not  because  of  what  we 
see  in  it,  but  because  of  what  others  have  seen  in  it. 
We  get  almost  all  our  wonders  at  second  hand.  We 
are  eager  to  see  any  celebrated  thing — and  we  never 
fail  of  our  reward;  just  the  deep  privilege  of  gazing 
upon  an  object  which  has  stirred  the  enthusiasm 
or  evoked  the  reverence  or  affection  or  admiration 
of  multitudes  of  our  race  is  a  thing  which  we  value; 
we  are  profoundly  glad  that  we  have  seen  it,  we  are 
permanently  enriched  from  having  seen  it,  we  would 
not  part  with  the  memory  of  that  experience  for  a 
great  price.  And  yet  that  very  spectacle  may  be 
the  Taj.  You  cannot  keep  your  enthusiasms  do\\Ti, 
you  cannot  keep  your  emotions  within  bounds  when 
that  soaring  bubble  of  marble  breaks  upon  your 
view.      But    these   are   not   your   enthusiasms   and 

185 


MARK     TWAIN 

emotions — they  are  the  accumulated  emotions  and 
enthusiasms  of  a  thousand  fervid  writers,  who  have 
been  slowly  and  steadily  storing  them  up  in  your 
heart  day  by  day  and  year  by  year  all  your  life; 
and  now  they  burst  out  in  a  flood  and  overwhelm 
you;  and  you  could  not  be  a  whit  happier  if  they 
were  your  very  own.  By  and  by  you  sober  down, 
and  then  you  perceive  that  you  have  been  drunk  on 
the  smell  of  somebody  else's  cork.  For  ever  and 
ever  the  memory  of  my  distant  first  ghmpse  of  the 
Taj  will  compensate  me  for  creeping  aroimd  the 
globe  to  have  that  great  privilege. 

But  the  Taj — with  all  your  inflation  of  delusive 
emotions,  acquired  at  second  hand  from  people  to 
whom  in  the  majority  of  cases  they  were  also  delu- 
sions acquired  at  second  hand — a  thing  which  you 
fortunately  did  not  think  of  or  it  might  have  made 
you  doubtful  of  what  you  imagined  were  your  own 
— ^what  is  the  Taj  as  a  marvel,  a  spectacle,  and  an 
uplifting  and  overpowering  wonder,  compared  with 
a  living,  breathing,  speaking  personage  whom  several 
millions  of  human  beings  devoutly  and  sincerely  and 
imquestioningly  believe  to  be  a  god,  and  humbly 
and  gratefully  worship  as  a  god? 

He  was  sixty  years  old  when  I  saw  him.  He  is 
called  Sri  io8  Swami  Bhaskarananda  Saraswati. 
That  is  one  form  of  it.  I  think  that  that  is  what 
you  would  call  him  in  speaking  to  him — because  it 
is  short.  But  you  would  use  more  of  his  name  in 
addressing  a  letter  to  him;  courtesy  would  require 
this.  Even  then  you  would  not  have  to  use  all  of 
it,  but  only  this  much : 

i86 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

Sri  1 08  Matparamahansaparivrajakacharyaswam- 
ibhaskaranandasaraswati. 

You  do  not  put  ''Esq."  after  it,  for  that  is  not 
necessary.  The  word  which  opens  the  volley  is 
itself  a  title  of  honor—' '  Sri. "  The  "108"  stands  for 
the  rest  of  his  names,  I  believe.  Vishnu  has  108 
names  which  he  does  not  use  in  business,  and  no 
doubt  it  is  a  custom  of  gods  and  a  privilege  sacred 
to  their  order  to  keep  108  extra  ones  in  stock. 
Just  the  restricted  name  set  down  above  is  a  hand- 
some property,  without  the  108.  By  my  count  it 
has  fifty-eight  letters  in  it.  This  removes  the  long 
German  words  from  competition;  they  are  perma- 
nently out  of  the  race. 

Sri  108  S.  B.  Saras wati  has  attained  to  what 
among  the  Hindus  is  called  the  "state  of  perfec- 
tion." It  i3  a  state  which  other  Hindus  reach  by 
being  bom  again  and  again,  and  over  and  over  again 
into  this  world,  through  one  remcamation  after 
another — a  tiresome  long  job  covering  centuries  and 
decades  of  centtuies,  and  one  that  is  full  of  risks, 
too,  like  the  accident  of  dying  on  the  wrong  side 
of  the  Ganges  some  time  or  other  and  waking  up 
in  the  form  of  an  ass,  with  a  fresh  start  necessary 
and  the  numerous  trips  to  be  made  all  over  again. 
But  in  reaching  perfection,  Sri  108  S.  B.  S.  has 
escaped  all  that.  He  is  no  longer  a  part  or  a  feature 
of  this  world;  his  substance  has  changed,  all  earthi- 
ness  has  departed  out  of  it;  he  is  utterly  holy, 
utterly  ptire;  nothing  can  desecrate  this  holiness 
or  stain  this  purity;  he  is  no  longer  of  the  earth, 
its  concerns  are  matters  foreign  to  him,  its  pains 

187 


MARK     TWAIN 

and  griefs  and  troubles  cannot  reach  him.  When  he 
dies,  Nirvana  is  his ;  he  will  be  absorbed  into  the  sub- 
stance of  the  Supreme  Deity  and  be  at  peace  forever. 

The  Hindu  Scriptures  point  out  how  this  state  is 
to  be  reached,  but  it  is  only  once  in  a  thousand 
years,  perhaps,  that  a  candidate  accomplishes  it. 
This  one  has  traversed  the  course  required,  stage 
by  stage,  from  the  beginning  to  the  end,  and  now 
has  nothing  left  to  do  but  wait  for  the  call  which 
shall  release  him  from  a  world  in  which  he  has  now 
no  part  nor  lot.  First,  he  passed  through  the 
student  stage,  and  became  learned  in  the  holy  books. 
Next  he  became  citizen,  householder,  husband,  and 
father.  That  was  the  required  second  stage.  Then — 
like  John  Bunyan's  Christian — he  bade  perpetual 
good-by  to  his  family,  as  required,  and  went  wander- 
ing away.  He  went  far  into  the  desert  and  served 
a  term  as  hermit.  Next,  he  became  a  beggar,  **in 
accordance  with  the  rites  laid  down  in  the  Scrip- 
tures," and  wandered  about  India  eating  the  bread 
of  mendicancy.  A  quarter  of  a  century  ago  he 
reached  the  stage  of  purity.  This  needs  no  garment ; 
its  symbol  is  nudity;  he  discarded  the  waist-cloth 
which  he  had  previously  worn.  He  could  resume 
it  now  if  he  chose,  for  neither  that  nor  any  other 
contact  can  defile  him;    but  he  does  not  choose. 

There  are  several  other  stages,  I  believe,  but  I  do 
not  remember  what  they  are.  But  he  has  been 
through  them.  Throughout  the  long  course  he  was 
perfecting  himself  in  holy  learning,  and  writing 
commentaries  upon  the  sacred  books.  He  was  also 
meditating  upon  Brahma,  and  he  does  that  now. 

i88 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

White  marble  relief-portraits  of  him  are  sold  all 
about  India.  He  lives  in  a  good  house  in  a  noble 
great  garden  in  Benares,  all  meet  and  proper  to  his 
stupendous  rank.  Necessarily,  he  does  not  go  abroad 
in  the  streets.  Deities  would  never  be  able  to  move 
about  handily  in  any  country.  If  one  whom  we 
recognized  and  adored  as  a  god  should  go  abroad 
in  our  streets,  and  the  day  it  was  to  happen  were 
known,  all  traffic  would  be  blocked  and  business 
would  come  to  a  standstill. 

This  god  is  comfortably  housed,  and  yet  modestly, 
all  things  considered,  for  if  he  wanted  to  live  in  a 
palace  he  would  only  need  to  speak  and  his  worship- 
ers would  gladly  build  it.  Sometimes  he  sees  devo- 
tees for  a  moment,  and  comforts  them  and  blesses 
them,  and  they  kiss  his  feet  and  go  away  happy. 
Rank  is  nothing  to  him,  he  being  a  god.  To  him 
all  men  are  alike.  He  sees  whom  he  pleases  and 
denies  himself  to  whom  he  pleases.  Sometimes  he 
sees  a  prince  and  denies  himself  to  a  pauper;  at 
other  times  he  receives  the  pauper  and  turns  the 
prince  away.  However,  he  does  not  receive  many 
of  either  class.  He  has  to  husband  his  time  for  his 
meditations.  I  think  he  would  receive  Rev.  Mr. 
Parker  at  any  time.  I  think  he  is  sorry  for  Mr. 
Parker,  and  I  think  Mr.  Parker  is  sorry  for  him; 
and  no  doubt  this  compassion  is  good  for  both  of 
them. 

When  we  arrived  we  had  to  stand  around  in  the 
garden  a  little  while  and  wait,  and  the  outlook  was 
not  good,  for  he  had  been  turning  away  Maharajas 
that  day  and   receiving  only  the   riffraff,  and  we 

189 


MARK     TWAIN 

belonged  in  between,  somewhere.  But  presently,  a 
servant  came  out  saying  it  was  all  right,  he  was 
coming. 

And  sure  enough,  he  came,  and  I  saw  him — that 
object  of  the  worship  of  millions.  It  was  a  strange 
sensation,  and  thrilling.  I  wish  I  could  feel  it  stream 
through  my  veins  again.  And  yet,  to  me  he  was 
not  a  god,  he  was  only  a  Taj.  The  thrill  was  not 
my  thrill,  but  had  come  to  me  second  hand  from 
those  invisible  millions  of  believers.  By  a  hand- 
shake with  their  god  I  had  ground-circuited  their 
wire  and  got  their  monster  battery's  whole  charge. 

He  was  tall  and  slender,  indeed  emaciated.  He 
had  a  clean-cut  and  conspicuously  intellectual  face, 
and  a  deep  and  kindly  eye.  He  looked  many  years 
older  than  he  really  was,  but  much  study  and  medi- 
tation and  fasting  and  prayer,  with  the  arid  life  he 
had  led  as  hermit  and  beggar,  could  account  for 
that.  He  is  wholly  nude  when  he  receives  natives, 
of  whatever  rank  they  may  be,  but  he  had  white 
cloth  aroimd  his  loins  now,  a  concession  to  Mr. 
Parker's  European  prejudices,  no  doubt. 

As  soon  as  I  had  sobered  down  a  little  we  got 
along  very  well  together,  and  I  found  him  a  most 
pleasant  and  friendly  deity.  He  had  heard  a  deal 
about  Chicago,  and  showed  a  quite  remarkable  inter- 
est in  it,  for  a  god.  It  all  came  of  the  World's  Fair 
and  the  Congress  of  Religions.  If  India  knows 
about  nothing  else  American,  she  knows  about  those, 
and  will  keep  them  in  mind  one  while. 

He  proposed  an  exchange  of  autographs,  a  delicate 
attention  which  made  me  believe  in  him,   but   I 

190 


FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

had  been  having  my  doubts  before.  He  wrote  his 
in  his  book,  and  I  have  a  reverent  regard  for  that 
book,  though  the  words  run  from  right  to  left,  and 
so  I  can't  read  it.  It  was  a  mistake  to  print  in  that 
way.  It  contains  his  voluminous  comments  on  the 
Hindu  holy  writings,  and  if  I  could  make  them  out 
I  would  try  for  perfection  myself.  I  gave  him  a 
copy  of  Huckleberry  Finn.  I  thought  it  might  rest 
him  up  a  Httle  to  mix  it  in  along  with  his  medita- 
tions on  Brahma,  for  he  looked  tired,  and  I  knew 
that  if  it  didn't  do  him  any  good  it  wouldn't  do  him 
any  harm. 

He  has  a  scholar  meditating  under  him — Mina 
Bahadur  Rana — but  we  did  not  see  him.  He  wears 
clothes  and  is  very  imperfect.  He  has  written  a 
Httle  pamphlet  about  his  master,  and  I  have  that. 
It  contains  a  wood-cut  of  the  master  and  himself 
seated  on  a  rug  in  the  garden.  The  portrait  of  the 
master  is  very  good,  indeed.  The  posture  is  exactly 
that  which  Brahma  himself  affects,  and  it  reqiiires 
long  arms  and  limber  legs,  and  can  be  accumulated 
only  by  gods  and  the  india-rubber  man.  There  is  a 
life-size  marble  relief  of  Sri  io8  S.  B.  S.  in  the 
garden.    It  represents  him  in  this  same  posture. 

Dear  me !  It  is  a  strange  world.  Particularly  the 
Indian  division  of  it.  This  pupil,  Mina  Bahadur 
Rana,  is  not  a  commonplace  person,  but  a  man  of 
distinguished  capacities  and  attainments,  and,  appar- 
ently, he  had  a  fine  worldly  career  in  front  of  him. 
He  was  serving  the  Nepal  Government  in  a  high 
capacity  at  the  Court  of  the  Viceroy  of  India,  twenty 
years  ago.    He  was  an  able  man,  educated,  a  thinker, 

191 


MARK    TWAIN 

a  man  of  property.  But  the  longing  to  devote  him- 
self to  a  rehgious  life  came  upon  him,  and  he  re- 
signed his  place,  turned  his  baok  upon  the  vanities 
and  comforts  of  the  world,  and  went  away  into  the 
solitudes  to  live  in  a  hut  and  study  the  sacred 
writings  and  meditate  upon  virtue  and  holiness  and 
seek  to  attain  them.  This  sort  of  religion  resembles 
ours.  Christ  recommended  the  rich  to  give  away 
all  their  property  and  follow  Him  in  poverty,  not  in 
worldly  comfort.  American  and  English  millionaires 
do  it  every  day,  and  thus  verify  and  confirm  to  the 
world  the  tremendous  forces  that  lie  in  religion. 
Yet  many  people  scoff  at  them  for  this  loyalty  to 
duty,  and  many  will  scoff  at  Mina  Bahadur  Rana 
and  call  him  a  crank.  Like  many  Christians  of 
great  character  and  intellect,  he  has  made  the  study 
of  his  Scriptures  and  the  writing  of  books  of  com- 
mentaries upon  them  the  loving  labor  of  his  life. 
Like  them,  he  has  believed  that  this  was  not  an  idle 
and  foolish  waste  of  his  life,  but  a  most  worthy  and 
honorable  employment  of  it.  Yet,  there  are  many 
people  who  will  see  in  those  others,  men  worthy  of 
homage  and  deep  reverence,  but  in  him  merely  a 
crank.  But  I  shall  not.  He  has  my  reverence. 
And  I  don't  offer  it  as  a  common  thing  and  poor, 
but  as  an  imusual  thing  and  of  value.  The  ordinary 
reverence,  the  reverence  defined  and  explained  by 
the  dictionary,  costs  nothing.  Reverence  for  one's 
own  sacred  things — parents,  religion,  flag,  laws,  and 
respect  for  one's  own  beliefs — these  are  feelings 
which  we  cannot  even  help.  They  come  natural  to 
us;    they  are  involuntary,   like  breathing.     There 

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is  no  personal  merit  in  breathing.  But  the  reverence 
which  is  difficult,  and  which  has  personal  merit  in 
it,  is  the  respect  which  you  pay,  without  compulsion, 
to  the  political  or  religious  attitude  of  a  man  whose 
beliefs  are  not  yours.  You  can't  revere  his  gods 
or  his  politics,  and  no  one  expects  you  to  do  that, 
but  you  could  respect  his  belief  in  them  if  you  tried 
hard  enough;  and  you  could  respect  him,  too,  if 
you  tried  hard  enough.  But  it  is  very,  very  difficult ; 
it  is  next  to  impossible,  and  so  we  hardly  ever  try. 
If  the  man  doesn't  believe  as  we  do,  we  say  he  is  a 
crank,  and  that  settles  it.  I  mean  it  does  nowadays, 
because  now  we  can't  bum  him. 

We  are  always  canting  about  people's  "irrever- 
ence," always  charging  this  offense  upon  somebody 
or  other,  and  thereby  intimating  that  we  are  better 
than  that  person  and  do  not  commit  that  offense 
ourselves.  Whenever  we  do  this  we  are  in  a  lying 
attitude,  and  our  speech  is  cant;  for  none  of  us  are 
reverent — in  a  meritorious  way;  deep  down  in  our 
hearts  we  are  all  irreverent.  There  is  probably  not 
a  single  exception  to  this  rule  in  the  earth.  There 
is  probably  not  one  person  whose  reverence  rises 
higher  than  respect  for  his  own  sacred  things;  and 
therefore,  it  is  not  a  thing  to  boast  about  and  be 
proud  of,  since  the  most  degraded  savage  has  that — 
and,  like  the  best  of  us,  has  nothing  higher.  To 
speak  plainly,  we  despise  all  reverences  and  all  ob- 
jects of  reverence  which  are  outside  the  pale  of  our 
own  Hst  of  sacred  things.  And  yet,  with  strange 
inconsistency,  we  are  shocked  when  other  people 
despise  and  defile  the  things  which  are  holy  to  us. 
"•—13  iQv^ 


MARK     TWAIN 

Suppose  we  should  meet  with  a  paragraph  like  the 
following,  in  the  newspapers : 

* '  Yesterday  a  visiting  party  of  the  British  nobility 
had  a  picnic  at  Mount  Vernon,  and  in  the  tomb  of 
Washington  they  ate  their  luncheon,  sang  popular 
songs,  played  games,  and  danced  waltzes  and  polkas." 

Should  we  be  shocked?  Should  we  feel  outraged? 
Should  we  be  amazed?  Should  we  call  the  per- 
formance a  desecration?  Yes,  that  would  all  happen. 
We  should  denounce  those  people  in  round  terms, 
and  call  them  hard  names. 

And  suppose  we  foimd  this  paragraph  in  the 
newspapers : 

''Yesterday  a  visiting  party  of  American  pork- 
millionaires  had  a  picnic  in  Westminster  Abbey,  and 
in  that  sacred  place  they  ate  their  luncheon,  sang 
popular  songs,  played  games,  and  danced  waltzes 
and  polkas." 

Would  the  EngHsh  be  shocked?  Would  they  feel 
outraged?  Would  they  be  amazed?  Would  they 
call  the  performance  a  desecration?  That  would  all 
happen.  The  pork-millionaires  would  be  denounced 
in  roimd  terms;    they  would  be  called  hard  names. 

In  the  tomb  at  Mount  Vernon  lie  the  ashes  of 
America's  most  honored  son;  in  the  Abbey,  the 
ashes  of  England's  greatest  dead;  the  tomb  of 
tombs,  the  cosJiest  in  the  earth,  the  wonder  of  the 
world,  the  Taj,  was  built  by  a  great  Emperor  to 
honor  the  memory  of  a  perfect  wife  and  perfect 
mother,  one  in  whom  there  was  no  spot  or  blemish, 
whose  love  was  his  stay  and  support,  whose  life  was 
the  hght  of  the  world  to  him;    in  it  her  ashes  lie, 

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FOLLOWING     THE     EQUATOR 

and  to  the  Mohammedan  millions  of  India  it  is  a 
holy  place;  to  them  it  is  what  Mount  Vernon  is  to 
Americans,  it  is  what  the  Abbey  is  to  the  English. 
Major  Sleeman  wrote  forty  or  fifty  years  ago  (the 
italics  are  mine) : 

I  would  here  enter  my  humble  protest  against  the  quadrille 
and  lunch  parties  which  are  sometimes  given  to  European  ladies 
and  gentlemen  of  the  station  at  this  imperial  tomb;  drinking 
and  dancing  are  no  doubt  very  good  things  in  their  season,  but 
they  are  sadly  out  of  place  in  a  sepidcher. 

Were  there  any  Americans  among  those  lunch- 
parties?    If  they  were  invited,  there  were. 

If  my  imagined  lunch-parties  in  Westminster  and 
the  tomb  of  Washington  should  take  place,  the  inci- 
dent would  cause  a  vast  outbreak  of  bitter  eloquence 
about  Barbarism  and  Irreverence;  and  it  would 
come  from  two  sets  of  people  who  would  go  next 
day  and  dance  in  the  Taj  if  they  had  a  chance. 

As  we  took  our  leave  of  the  Benares  god  and 
started  awa